ORLANDO – A detailed analysis of state records by the Orlando Sentinel reveals that Walt Disney World (WDW) has spent almost $2.5 million in contributions to political candidates and causes in Florida. The Central Florida entertainment giant has spent almost twice as much as it did at this point during the 2010 election—and approximately six times as much as during the entire 2008 cycle.
ts biggest beneficiary is the Florida Republican Party, with the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, et al, donating $650,000 to the state party thus far (totaling around three times as much as the $220,000 given by Disney to the Florida Democratic Party). In addition, the Sentinel found that about 90 cents of every dollar spent by Disney this election on campaigns in the Sunshine State has gone to Republican candidates or conservative groups.
According to the analysis, the largest increase in “Mouse money” was spent on fundraising committees controlled by individual legislators. The so-called “committees of continuous existence (CCE)” permit state Senators and House members to raise unlimited amounts. In the 2010 election, WDW spent less than $100,000 to support CCEs. So far this year, Disney has given nearly $900,000 to such groups.
Among these is the Florida Conservative Leadership Fund, a committee controlled in part by state Rep. Mike Horner (R-Kissimmee), who dropped his re-election bid after he was named as a client of a prostitution ring.
Horner’s committee received $105,000 from Disney.