Congressman Goodlatte staunchly defended President Trump’s now-suspended executive order banning entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries and otherwise restricting travel and immigration. As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, he says he “proudly allowed” his staff to work with Trump’s staff on preparing the order– although he won’t say if his staffers signed nondisclosure agreements before doing so.
In contrast, more than 100 companies filed court papers February 5 declaring that Trump’s executive order “violates the immigration laws and the Constitution.”
The ban represents “a sudden shift in the rules governing entry into the United States, and is inflicting substantial harm on U.S. companies,” says the court document.
Among the companies signing on to the motion are Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Twitter and eBay– all of which contributed to Goodlatte’s most recent reelection campaign through their political action committees.
According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, Goodlatte’s campaign committee received more than $1 million from non-party PACs in 2015 and 2016. They included:
• $10,000 from Facebook Inc. PAC
• $10,000 from Google NetPac
• $10,000 from Intel PAC
• $10,000 from Microsoft Corporation PAC
• $1,000 from Twitter Inc. #PAC
• $7,500 from eBay Inc. Committee for Responsible Government
In an earlier court motion, Amazon supported the attorney general of Washington state in a lawsuit against Trump’s immigration order.
Amazon says it has 49 employees born in the seven Muslim-majority countries included in the ban who are legally working for the company in the United States or elsewhere. Amazon says their work and travel could be disrupted.
And yet– Amazon PAC donated $2,500 to Goodlatte’s campaign.
Goodlatte’s campaign had more predictable donors– including the American Petroleum Institute ($1,000), Bank of America ($2,500), Comcast ($10,000), Delta Airlines ($2,000), Dominion Power ($5,000), Eli Lilly ($4,000), Northrop Grumman ($5,000), Exxon Mobil ($10,000), Halliburton ($2,500), the NRA ($7,000) and Goldman Sachs ($3,500).
But among the committees helping to keep Goodlatte in Congress was the PAC for the Directors Guild of America ($10,000). At the DGA Awards February 4, The New York Times reports:
[P]resenters and winners repeatedly voiced alarm about the Trump administration, and said it was largely up to Hollywood to save the day.
“We all know the story being written now is really, really bad,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, a previous two-time winner, for “Birdman” for “The Revenant” told the audience. “Actually it’s a bad remake of one of the worst stories of the last century. The only way we win is by telling good, complex, and truthful human stories.”
The Staunton News Leader reported in 2015:
The congressman’s staunch support for copyright protections has endeared him to the liberal movie and music industry crowd. As he was about to assume his chairmanship two years ago, CNET Magazine announced Goodlatte as “Hollywood’s new copyright ally.” The International Business Times reported… that the Motion Picture Association of America has a priority of raising money for Goodlatte.
He said he doesn’t consider himself “Hollywood’s congressmen.” His alliance with movie and music makers stems from his focus on intellectual property, the ideas and inventions that he believes drive economic growth.
“You come up with a brilliant idea, whether it’s creative like art or music, or movies or books or an invention —something that can be patented,” Goodlatte said. “Then you get rewarded by the government protecting your rights under that; you then have the opportunity to grow the economy.”
Other Hollywood donors to Goodlatte were the PACs of 21st Century Fox ($7,500), Sony Pictures Entertainment ($10,000), Walt Disney Company ($5,500) and the Motion Picture Association of America ($3,000). The Recording Industry Association of America kicked in $5,000.
Ultimately it’s up to ordinary Americans, not Hollywood, to “save the day.” But if Hollywood wants to help, it could start by cutting off the money it doles out to Trump-supporting politicians like Bob Goodlatte.