Feeding the hand that bites you


Entertainment companies have nearly doubled the amount of money they've given to politicians in this presidential election year, with a total of $15.5 million so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research firm in Washington. Contributions were half that at this point in the 1996 campaign, CRP reports.

Hollywood interests are fighting hard in Washington to protect their copyrighted products against Internet piracy.

The top giver so far, at nearly $1.1 million, is Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, which owns Universal. Nearly $800,000 of that has gone to Democrats; $300,000, to Republicans. Time Warner follows with a total of $887,000. DreamWorks SKG-led by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, all of whom are huge donors to the Democratic party-has given $695,000. The Walt Disney Co. has kicked in $693,000; Saban Entertainment, headed by Haim Saban, has donated a total of $488,000.

Top Senate recipients of entertainment money include Senate Commerce Committee Chairman and former presidential candidate John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Top House recipients are Reps. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Mike Oxley (R-Ohio), Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and Tom Bliley (R-Va.).