This time last year, just as Coachella announced its lineup, the owner of its parent company was forced to defend himself against reignited criticism of his monetary support for Republican politicians and right-wing, anti-gay lobby organizations such as the Family Research Council. The increased scrutiny prompted AEG boss Philip Anschutz to issue a statement saying he had ceased donations to anti-gay groups, but records show that Anschutz continues to donate to Republicans. As first reported by the Fader, Anschutz donated a total of $187,300 to Republican candidates and organizations in 2017, an off-cycle election year. (During the 2016 presidential election season, he donated more than $1 million to conservative causes.)
According to records retrieved from the Federal Election Commission and the website Open Secrets, the recipients of Anschutz’s 2017 political donations included $5,400 apiece to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO). Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) received $2,700, while Paul Ryan’s Prosperity Action PAC received an additional $5,000. Another $5,000 went to the conservative Comman Values PAC, which has supported candidates including Luther Strange, Roy Moore‘s Trump-backed Republican challenger, and Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte, who memorably assaulted a reporter last May.
Anschutz’s biggest donations of 2017 went to the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($104,600) and the National Republican Congressional Committee ($33,400), which aim to protect conservative majorities in their respective houses of Congress. Open Secrets does list a small handful of past Anschutz donations to Democratic candidates; the most recent was almost 25 years ago in 1993.