Is Coachella Money Helping Elect Anti-Abortion Attorney General Candidates?
It is hard to imagine that any of the artists who played this year's Coachella festival would play a fundraiser to elect Republican attorney general candidates, so they can prosecute people who have abortions, perform abortions or speak to people about abortions.
It is hard to imagine most of the people who attend Coachella would donate their own money to such a cause.
And yet, Popular Information and Rolling Stone report that, on June 29 of this year, five days after Roe v. Wade was overturned, the festival's parent company, the Anschutz Corporation, donated $75,000 to RAGA, the Republican Attorneys General Association. RAGA put out a call for donations the day Roe was overturned, to elect Republican attorneys general who will fight against Democrats and "stand tall for life."
The Anschutz Corporation (TAC) owns AEG Presents, which owns Coachella. So while it's not a direct line, ticket sales to an event full of progressives are arguably contributing to the funding of right-wing causes, including opposition to abortion.
In a statement to Popular Information and Rolling Stone, the Anschutz Corporation said the company's owner Philip Anschutz did not personally want Roe overturned, adding that TAC had been donating to RAGA since 2014 and Anschutz didn't even know about the recent fundraising push, or every position taken by every organization they donate to:
As a personal matter, Philip F. Anschutz believes in a woman’s right to choose and did not support the reversal of Roe. Neither The Anschutz Corporation (TAC), or Mr. Anschutz, received, saw or was aware of a Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) fundraising solicitation based on the reversal of Roe v. Wade. TAC has contributed to RAGA since at least 2014. No contribution to RAGA by TAC or Mr. Anschutz has been based upon, informed by, or motivated by any RAGA position on Roe or abortion. Mr. Anschutz makes contributions to numerous organizations, usually for specific reasons. He does not review or support each of the positions taken by such organizations.
It beggars belief that there is no one at the Anschutz Corporation looking into this at all. Large companies have to beware of negative publicity. I highly doubt they would accidentally donate $75,000 to a neo-Nazi group that sent them a really impressive grant proposal, or to NAMBLA's Toys for Tots program.
It is also hardly as if RAGA became a virulently anti-abortion organization just last month, or as if this is the first right-wing cause the Anschutz Corporation has donated to.
Via Popular Information:
In March 2022, records show that the Anschutz Corporation also contributed a combined $750,000 to the Senate Leadership Fund and the House Leadership Fund — super PACs seeking to put Republicans back in control of the House and Senate. Senator Mitch McConnell has said that, if his party regains control of Congress, he would consider a national abortion ban. [...]
In 2017, Anschutz was criticized after his foundation reportedly donated to anti-LGBTQ groups including the Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Christian Foundation, and the Family Research Council. Anschutz denied accusations that he was anti-LGBTQ, calling the claims “fake news,” and adding, “I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation.”
At the time, Anschutz said he would stop funding any groups involved in anti-LGBTQ activities. And while contributions to the aforementioned groups did stop, Pitchfork reported in 2018 that Anschutz was still giving money to smaller organizations with a history of anti-LGBTQ statements and activities.
You know, I'm gonna have to say that if you end up "accidentally" funding anti-LGBTQ hate groups, you should probably do a better job of vetting the organizations you donate to. Clearly, this is a continuing problem for Anschutz and his corporation, so perhaps he should consider hiring a full-time Google searching person to help him figure these things out.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse