In January of 2017, The FADER reported that Philip Anschutz, the CEO of entertainment giant AEG and owner of Golden Voice/Coachella was a Republican mega-donor who gave over $1,000,000 to conservative efforts during the 2016 election. Although 2017 was an off-cycle election year, Anschutz opened up his checkbook again and gave close to $200,000 to Republican politicians and Super PACs.
In March, he gave $5,400 to Senator Cory Gardner, who is one of the most pro-gun senators in the country. In October, Gardner came out against gun control after the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds. “This is a tragedy,” he told TIME. “and if you’re trying to politicize it, or if anyone is trying to politicize it, then shame on them.”
He gave Rep. Tipton $2,700 in August. Tipton opposes same sex marriage and abortion. Mike Coffman, a member of the House who opposes abortion, received $5,400 from Anschutz in August.
In 2012, Coffman received national attention for his birther comments about President Obama: "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America,” he said at the time. “I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."
Other politicians that received Anschutz’s money and attention include Deb Fischer, the pro-life Nebraska senator, and Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, who recently passed a tax bill that experts say will add $2 trillion to the national debt while giving bigger tax cuts to the richest Americans.
Anschutz gave $13,500 to Colorado conservatives directly. But the biggest donations went out through Anshutz’s company The Anschutz Corporation, which gave $138,000 to the National Republican Senate Committee, an organization chaired by Gardner which aims to increase the Republican senate majority. Their 2017 numbers aren’t currently available but in the 2016 election cycle, they spent $39 million against Democratic candidates.
Representatives for Coachella did not immediately respond to a request for comment. When his donations were brought into public last year, Anschutz issued a statement to The FADER:
“Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news – it is all garbage. I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation. We are fortunate to employ a wealth of diverse individuals throughout our family of companies, all of whom are important to us – the only criteria on which they are judged is the quality of their job performance; we do not tolerate discrimination in any form.
Both The Anschutz Foundation and I contribute to numerous organizations that pursue a wide range of causes. Neither I nor the Foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives, and when it has come to my attention or the attention of The Anschutz Foundation that certain organizations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.”