Disney becoming more generous with political contributions

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This article comes from Jason Garcia the Daily Disney..

Mickey Mouse appears to be quite fond of state Rep. Dean Cannon.

Shortly after Cannon, a Winter Park Republican in line to be the next speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, opened his campaign for re-election last year, Walt Disney World wrote him a check for $500, the maximum amount allowed by state law.

Disney didn’t stop there. In February, according to state campaign-finance records, the giant resort gave Cannon eight more checks worth $500 apiece — each one issued by a different Disney entity, from its time-share unit to its cruise line to its gift-card processor.

And Cannon isn’t the only candidate benefitting from Mickey’s generosity. Records show that Disney has used its myriad corporate affiliates — with names such as Disney Photo Imaging LLC and Magic Kingdom Inc. — to rain checks on state legislators from Miami to the Panhandle.

The corporate check-bundling is part of an overall surge in political spending by Disney this election cycle. Although more than a month remains before the Nov. 2 elections, Disney has already pumped approximately $1.5 million worth of money and free theme-park tickets, hotel rooms and food into political parties, candidates and committees across Florida — as much as the resort gave during the 2006 and 2008 election cycles combined.

It’s a strategic shift designed to give Disney an even louder voice in the state Capitol.

As a diverse company with 58,000 cast members and a strong commitment to our community, we routinely engage in the political process,” Disney World spokesman Bryan Malenius said. “We have evaluated our political giving and determined this is an appropriate contribution level for a company of our size, especially in a historic election year with so many open seats locally and across the state.”

Critics say Disney will expect a return on its investment.

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Photo credit dailydisney.com

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