It was big news when former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd accepted a job as the chief lobbyist and top dog at the Motion Picture Association of America.
Most news stories rightfully highlighted the fact that, due to lobbying laws, Dodd can't wine and dine his former colleagues on the Hill until 2013, that he'll earn an estimated $1.2 million a year, and that he told a Connecticut newspaper that he would not become a lobbyist after leaving the Senate in January.
But what about Dodd's past financial relationship with the movie industry, which has put him on a very select list of politicians?
Plenty of politicians have received campaign money from movie
production companies and related political action committees, but Dodd was
often an industry favorite.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a D.C.-based nonprofit that tracks campaign finance money, only 13 federal politicians over the last 20 years received more money than Dodd from the motion picture industry.
From 1990 to 2010, according to the Center's website, OpenSecrets.org, Dodd recieved $342,300, a far cry from the more than $3.5 million the movie industry contributed to Barack Obama, or the $1.2 million it bestowed on Senator Barbara Boxer, but still enough to land Dodd in the No. 14 spot overall.
During the 2008 election cycle, the motion picture industry gave Dodd $95,350, the sixth most of any Congress member, and during the 2004 election cycle, Dodd ranked No. 9 on the list, taking in $45,500 from the industry.
It was also during the 2004 cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org, when the MPAA political action committee contributed $1,000 to Dodd for his re-election campaign.
As the new chairman of the MPAA, reports Politico, Dodd will “answer to the heads of the six leading movie studios: Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Fox Filmed Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.”
During the 2008 cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org, Time Warner gave Dodd $37,900, placing him fourth, behind only Obama, Hillary Clinton and Minnesota Senator, and former actor, Al Franken.
That same election cycle, the Walt Disney Company gave Dodd $20,800, again putting him fourth amongst politicians receiving money from Disney.
So welcome to Hollywood, Mr. Dodd. It will surely be, as it has been, an advantageous relationship for everyone involved.