By: Joe Strupp
While Sam Zell’s biggest newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, made history endorsing a Democrat, Barack Obama, this year, he has been busy giving tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to Obama’s opponent, Sen. John McCain.
Among other CEOs: Rupert Murdoch has given $2,300 to McCain, Richard Scaife and Philip Anschutz have heavily backed Republicans, while William Dean Singleton has pretty much sat it out while his fellow MediaNews honcho Richard Scudder has funded Obama.
A review of several online campaign donation sites shows Zell, listed as the chairman of his Equity Group Investments, donated at least $40,000 to McCain campaign committees this year. The first was $20,000 to the McCain Victory Committee on May 6, 2008, while another $20,000 is listed to McCain-Palin Victory 2008 on Sept. 16, according to CQ Moneyline and others.
That did not seem to influence the Tribune, whose endorsement of Obama marked the first Democratic presidential nominee to receive the paper’s backing in its history, while the Times offered its first presidential endorsement since 1972 with this year’s support for Obama.
Records also indicate Zell’s support for other Republicans, including Rudolph Giuliani in the primary season, Sen. Norm Coleman (now opposed by Al Franken), and the Republican Party of Minnesota. But Democrats are not left out completely, according to records that show Zell contributions to Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, Kentucky Sen. Bruce Lunsford, and New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Obama, another home state senator, received a $2,300 donation from Zell in 2007.
Records also show that conservative publisher (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) Richard Scaife this year has donated $20,000 to the GOP national committee, another $10,000 to the Republican Federal Committee of Pennsylvania and $5,000 to the Club for Growth.
Philip Anschutz, publisher of the Examiner newspapers among other properties, gave $10,000 to the Colorado Republican Campaign Committee along with more than $10,000 to candidates.
Dean Singleton, who donated to George W. Bush in the past, is notable by his near-absence from the funding lists this year. But his fellow MediaNews honcho, Dick Scudder, has given $2000 to Obama.