Political donations by News Corp., its employees and their families were evenly split to Democrats and Republicans, with President Obama the all-time leading recipient, according to a report from the Sunlight Foundation.
The transparency watchdog said Tuesday that Democrats received 51 percent of News Corp.'s contributions, while Republicans received 49 percent.
News Corp. is the parent company of The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Fox News, The Sun and The Sunday Times among others. The news company is currently under scrutiny in both the U.S.and in the UK over allegations its now-closed subsidiary News of the World hacked into voice mail accounts and bribed public officials.
"Obama being listed as the company's top recipient might surprise some people because of its highly publicized involvement with his political rivals, like Sarah Palin who was the vice presidential candidate in 2008 and reportedly still under contract with Murdoch-owned Fox News as a paid commentator," wrote Sunlight's Ryan Sibley.
Sibley said News Corp. has spent $8.2 million since 1997 lobbying on issues such as net neutrality and privacy and claims that the top recipients from the firm's political action committee (PAC), News America Holdings, in the 2009-10 election cycle were Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Moreover, according to the reports from the Sunlight Foundation, the top recipients of contributions from the company, its employees, and their families since 1989 are all Democrats.
In a Tuesday blog post, the organization argued that the political influence of the company and its CEO, Rupert Murdoch, extends around the world, affecting the U.S. as Murdoch is said to have close ties with Democrats and Republican alike.
"It's been reported that Murdoch has close, and sometimes inappropriate, relationships with conservative politicians in the [United Kingdom]," wrote Sunlight reporter Ryan Sibley. "It's also commonly believed that he has close ties to what we consider conservative politicians here in the U.S. as well, but campaign-finance records suggest he has ties to both sides of the aisle."
Obama raked in $368,669 from News Corporation-affiliated sources, according to the foundation, while the reports also claim that the top three recipients are former Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, now secretary of state, at $298,525; and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at $157,901.
Firmly denying the foundation's allegations, Obama for America, the president's re-election campaign organization, pointed out it does not accept PAC donations and a campaign spokesman was quick to dismiss the suggestion that Obama has close ties to News Corporation.
"Access to a remote control would disprove this absurd suggestion," said spokesman Ben LaBolt. "We don't accept money from PACs and haven't accepted a dime from News Corp's PAC. We had 3.95 million donors to the campaign in 2008."