What do you do in an election year if you’re the Walt Disney Company? If you’re Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger, you send a letter to company employees asking for their financial support of the Disney political action committee, DisneyPAC.
DisneyPAC supports politicians who advance aggressive legislative protection of intellectual property and the removal of international barriers to the sale of Disney products, particularly in Asia. The letter asks employees to consider “making a contribution” to the PAC — be it a regular payroll deduction or a one-time donation — to allow Disney to more strongly assert its interests in the halls of Washington, D.C. Disney assures that “100% of [employees’] contribution is used in direct support of candidates and political entities” that support Disney company goals.
Although it isn’t unheard of for a corporation to ask its employees to contribute financially to its political efforts, because Disney’s influence on policy is already notorious — the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act, which added twenty years of additional copyright protection of original works, was known colloquially as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” (the Disney icon’s copyright protection was due to expire in 2003 without the new law) — the request strikes some observers as particularly noteworthy. According to OpenSecrets.org, in 2014, DisneyPAC spent nearly $375,000 on lobbying. This year — a presidential election year — Disney has already spent $231,000, only two months in. Disney appears to be gearing up for a significant political lobbying campaign.