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News Corp. Gives to Democrats, Spreads June Political Money

The political action committee of News Corp., the embattled media company headed by Rupert Murdoch, contributed $52,500 to U.S. federal candidates and party committees in June before reports of a phone-hacking scandal by the company’s journalists.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee received $15,000, the single biggest donation from the company’s political action committee during the month. During the first six months of 2011, News Corp.’s PAC made $128,000 in donations, compared with $132,200 during the same period two years earlier.

The PAC has traditionally given to both Democrats and Republicans. For the 2010 elections, New York-based News Corp.’s PAC gave 58 percent of its $244,200 in candidate contributions to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group.

A request to News Corp. for comment didn’t receive an immediate response.

Last year, News Corp. donated $1.25 million to the Republican Governors Association and $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent millions last fall primarily for Republican candidates to Congress. The Republican Governors Association donation was previously reported by Bloomberg News; the chamber contribution was reported earlier by Politico.

The company last week disclosed donations from its corporate treasury, which are distinct from its PAC contributions, for the first six months of 2011. The corporate donations totaled $116,000, including $25,000 to the Democratic Governors Association.

News Corp. is embroiled in a scandal over alleged phone hacking by the company’s News of the World tabloid in the U.K. Murdoch closed the 168-year-old paper, and News International Chief Executive Officer Rebekah Brooks and Les Hinton, CEO of the company’s Dow Jones & Co. unit, resigned.

The FBI is looking at whether News Corp. employees tried to hack the phones of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. At least six U.S. lawmakers have asked government agencies to investigate the company.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with News Corp. units in providing financial news and information.

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