Coachella parent company donates cash to anti-abortion group

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On June 24, the day the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wadethe Association of Attorneys General of the Republic reached out to its supporters with an urgent appeal for money: “[E]Every donation will help Republican attorneys general fight the Democrats’ pro-abortion agenda and stand up for life.

Days later, on June 29, according to a filing submitted to the IRS in July, Anschutz Corporation — a massive holding company that owns famed live music giant AEG Presents, the parent company of several major festivals, including Coachella — donated $75,000 to RAGA. Anschutz Corporation money comes as RAGA gears up for election season to install attorneys general who will enforce and defend anti-abortion laws in key states where abortion rights remain in limbo , such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Ohio and Florida.

The Anschutz Company denies that it or its owner received, saw or knew of the solicitation of RAGA funds, noting in a statement to rolling stone that they have been donating to RAGA since 2014 and that “[a]On a personal level, Philip F. Anschutz believes in a woman’s right to choose and did not support the inversion of deer.”

RAGA’s opposition to abortion rights is well established. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, a member of the RAGA, was in charge of the legal strategy to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court case that overturned deer. In July 2021, 24 of 26 other RAGA members submitted an amicus brief in support of Fitch. “Court precedent on abortion is wrong, inconsistent, patchy and unreliable,” the Republican attorneys general wrote. “deer and Casey should be cancelled. (The only current RAGA members who did not sign the brief were New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, who took office in April 2021, and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, who was elected after the Short was signed.)

AEG Presents and its subsidiary, Goldenvoice (which presents Coachella and Stagecoach), are just a few stars in the huge galaxy that represents Anschutz Corporation. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the income from Anschutz will be used by RAGA to support these efforts, while part of this income comes from the sale of tickets for concerts and festivals featuring major artists who have strongly criticized conservative attacks on reproductive rights.

After a draft opinion from Dobbs leaked in May, at least 15 artists who performed at Coachella this year – including Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion and Phoebe Bridgers – signed a full-page ad in The New York Times condemn the actions of the Court. “Our power to plan our own future and control our own bodies depends on our ability to access sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion,” the artists said in the ad. “We won’t back down – and we won’t back down.”

After the decision was made, fellow Coachella 2022 headliner Harry Styles wrote on Twitter that he was “devastated” by the decision. Eilish, who performed at Glastonbury in the UK on the day the decision was announced, told the crowd: “Today is a very, very dark day for women in the United States.” And Megan Thee Stallion also used her Glastonbury platform to proclaim: ‘And I want it to be on the fucking record that hot boys and girls don’t support this bullshit you’re campaigning for. My body is my fucking choice.

Other Coachella 2022 artists who spoke out against the Dobbs decision, or have supported pro-choice efforts in the past, include Maggie Rogers, Finneas, Arcade Fire and Kim Petras. Beyond Coachella, outspoken entertainers Maren Morris and Brandi Carlile also performed at the AEG/Goldenvoice Stagecoach country festival this year. And political acts like Halsey, Green Day, Doua Lipa, Charlie XCX, yungbludand willow play at AEG’s Firefly Festival in Dover, Delaware in September.

Reps for Styles, Eilish, Finneas, Megan Thee Stallion, Arcade Fire, Morris, Carlile, Halsey, Green Day, Dua Lipa, Charli XCX, Yungblud and Willow did not immediately respond to requests for comment; Petras, Rogers and Bridgers weren’t immediately available for comment, according to their reps.

In a statement to rolling stone, AEG responded as follows: “AEG, AEG Presents, Goldenvoice and its other subsidiaries, as one company, strongly support women’s right to choose. As the owner and producer of many of the most inclusive festivals and venues on the planet, we have made strides in clarifying our position on this. On June 28, following the disturbing reversal of Roe vs. Wade and with the full support of The Anschutz Corporation, we have informed all of our employees that we will cover travel and accommodation costs for women who must leave their home country for reproductive health services, including abortion. We remain, as always, committed to choice, freedom and access to all reproductive health options for women.

In March 2022, records show the Anschutz Corporation also contributed $750,000 to the Senate Leadership Fund and the House Leadership Fund — super PACs seeking to return Republicans to control of the House and the Senate. Senator Mitch McConnell has said that if his party regains control of Congress, he would consider a nationwide ban on abortion.

That the Anschutz Corporation donated $75,000 to RAGA, and larger sums to other Republican committees, should come as no surprise. The company – which is owned by 82-year-old billionaire Philip Anschutz – has attracted a lot of attention and notoriety in the past for its donations to right-wing groups, although its representatives noted that it has given to many others as well. groups and say rolling stone it does not “review or support each of the positions” taken by these groups.

The Anschutz Corporation statement, in its entirety, reads: “Personally, Philip F. Anschutz believes in a woman’s right to choose and did not support the reversal of deer. Neither The Anschutz Corporation (TAC) nor Mr. Anschutz has received, seen or heard of any solicitation for funding from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) based on the cancellation of Roe vs. Wade. TAC has contributed to RAGA since at least 2014. No contribution to RAGA by TAC or Mr. Anschutz has been based on, informed or motivated by any position of RAGA on deer or abortion. Mr. Anschutz contributes to many organizations, usually for specific reasons. It does not examine or support each of the positions taken by these organizations.

AEG owner Philip Anschutz in 2017.

Shaun Clark/Getty Images

In 2017, Anschutz came under fire after his foundation allegedly 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 regardless of sexual orientation.”

At the time, Anschutz said he would stop funding any group involved in anti-LGBTQ activities. And while contributions to the aforementioned groups have ceased, Pitchfork reported in 2018 that Anschutz continues to donate money to smaller organizations with a history of anti-LGBTQ statements and activity. Among them was the popular Christian youth ministry Young Life, which since last year has been welcoming LGBTQ young people, but not allowing them to serve as volunteers or staff. (Following the Pitchfork report, an attorney for Anschutz said, “We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in this regard, but there’s always room for improvement.”)

Like many companies after the Dobbs decision, AEG pledged last month to cover travel and accommodation costs for employees whose access to reproductive health care is at risk. “We understand that the issue of reproductive rights is extremely important to our employees, and we are committed to supporting you and your family with health care that continues to provide medical and prescription coverage for reproductive health services. , including abortions,” the company wrote in an email. seen by rolling stone.

The upcoming election in Wisconsin is a clear example of how important attorney general races will be in a post-deer world. The state’s current AG, Democrat Josh Kaul, said he would “not investigate or prosecute” anyone who violates the state’s 1849 law banning abortion, which has remained on the books, but has not been applied, after deer was decided in 1973. Kaul also recently sued to block the ban after it was triggered by Dobbs.

The three Republicans seeking to unseat Kaul in November all said they would enforce the state’s abortion ban if elected. And whoever wins the Republican primary for AG next month, the Republican Attorneys General Association will be ready to help, having already earmarked $682,250 in TV ad time for spots opposing Kaul in October and November. .

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