The movie industry’s main lobbying group has ramped up its budget and donations to political groups in the past few years, and, in a switch for an industry long associated with Democrats, has quietly reached out to Republicans and conservative-leaning organizations in an effort to rebuild its clout.
Last year, the MPAA replaced its longtime lead lobbying firm, considered to be close with Democrats, with a lobbyist with ties to key GOP lawmakers. Its political-action committee now gives more donations to Republicans than Democrats. And it has sent money to a GOP super PAC, a conservative antitax entity and a business lobby helping Republicans in the 2014 elections.
The turnaround comes after Hollywood was handed a major legislative defeat two years ago when Congress bowed to pressure from the high-tech industry and buried legislation that would have made it more difficult for people to illegally download movies and other copyrighted content. It was a clear signal of the rising power of Silicon Valley in Washington, at the expense of Hollywood. “We realized we have to act like a normal trade organization,” a senior executive at one studio said of the industry’s recent political moves. “We have to reach out…and we can’t be all on one side.”