Disney Donated $190K to Florida Republicans Before Parental Rights Bill Passed

Disney Donated $190K to Florida Republicans Before Parental Rights Bill Passed the walt disney co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the new york stock exchange. The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Richard Drew/AP Photo)

By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 12 April 2022 08:09 AM

Before condemning Florida's GOP-led Parental Rights in Education law, The Walt Disney Co. donated $190,000 to support the state's Republicans, Politico reported.

Disney gave $125,000 to the Republican Party of Florida and $65,000 to a committee that helps elect GOP state senators, Politico reported Monday.

A $25,000 check to the party on Jan. 26 came six days after the Parental Rights in Education bill had cleared its first legislative stop in the Florida House, Politico reported.

Late last month, Disney denounced Florida's newly enacted law and vowed to fight it. The company initially drew fire from its own employees because of its silence on the issue.

Disney said it would pause making campaign donations in Florida after the employee outcry to the legislation, which forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., then slammed "woke" Disney CEO Bob Chapek over his criticism of the bill that progressives claim is anti-LGBTQ.

Florida Republican lawmakers have met to discuss the repeal of Disney World's self-governing arrangement following the company's criticism of the state's new law. Disney is allowed to operate as its own local government under a law that was passed to lure the theme park to the state's Orlando area.

DeSantis said he doesn't "support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful, and they've been able to wield a lot of power."

Several Republican lawmakers announced they would return checks they received from Disney. Records show three campaigns returned more than $8,000 to Disney companies. State Rep. Joe Harding, who sponsored the Parental Rights in Education bill, was one of those who sent back checks, Politico reported.

Disney's donations were part of nearly $1.8 million raised during the first three months of the year by the Republican Party of Florida, Politico said. The Florida Democratic Party raised $2.57 million during the same period.

All the donations were disclosed in new campaign filings Monday. Politico said the money arrived as the state legislative session began in January.

Disney also donated $25,000 to a leadership fund led by Senate Democrat Leader Lauren Book.

Both major parties usually raise a large amount of unsolicited money in the run-up to the annual session that began Jan. 11.

Original Article