Friday, October 26th, 2007
Hearings on drugs and death in pro wrestling loom from either of two committees of the House of Representatives. Let’s take a look at one area in which World Wrestling Entertainment, a billion-dollar corporation, is certain to be investing resources: lobbying.
This is democracy in action, 21st century America style, and it’s nothing new for Vince McMahon either. In a chapter of WRESTLING BABYLON (originally published as a 1988 article in The Washington Monthly), I describe how Titan Sports, parent company of then-World Wrestling Federation, sicced lobbyists on state legislators to help nudge the nascent deregulation of pro wrestling over the top rope. One of those lobbyists was Rick Santorum, a young lawyer at WWF/WWE’s long-time Pittsburgh-based main outside law firm, which now has the name Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis. Santorum went on to two terms as Pennsylvania’s junior (and right-wing) United States senator.
Much as I’d like to represent that the information below comes from painstaking enterprise reporting, the truth is that an excellent public-interest group, the Center for Responsive Politics (http://crp.org or http://opensecrets.org), maintains a cross-referenced database of the Congressional filings mandated by the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. The interface there is so friendly that even I can figure it out. (I also thank CRP’s communications director, Massie Ritsch, for helping me interpret the data.)
I have not yet investigated whether WWE’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings include more specific data in this area. I suspect not, but if so I will discuss in a future blog post.
Here’s what we find:
Then there are campaign contributions by the McMahon family. More on that in a future post.