Earlier this week, the online streaming media company, Netflix, filed a statement with the federal government to create it's very own political action committee: FLIXPAC. The new PAC will allow Netflix to directly contribute to federal campaigns, thus boosting the media company's Washington profile. More specifically, A PAC can give $5,000 to a candidate per election (primary, general or special) and up to $15,000 annually to a national political party. PACs may receive up to $5,000 each from individuals, other PACs, and party committees per year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Netflix has been sending lobbyists to Capitol Hill since 2005, and eventually acquired a full time presence with lobbyist Michael Drobac at the beginning of 2011. As the company has grown increasingly popular over the past few years, it's contributions to Congress have also grown increasingly significant. For example, the company spent $20,000 in lobby money in 2009 and over half a million dollars by 2011.
According to the company's lobbying registration form from 2010, Netflix's primary lobbying issues included copyright, telecommunications, consumer protection, tax and the Internet. And consequently, donations from FLIXPAC could go to political candidates with strong stances on issues of that nature. Earlier this year, Netflix took a publicly neutral stance when congress battled over anti-piracy bills such as SOPA and PIPA.
Politico argues that the PAC Provides Netflix with another political tool with which to aggressively press a pro-intellectual property, anti-video piracy agenda- an effort it began in earnest in 2010, when the company began heavily investing in federal lobbying efforts. And while the company has spoken out against net neutrality in prior years, Netflix possesses the right to stream the exclusive content of a number of copyrighted shows and movies, and this could be why the company has chosen to establish a political force through a PAC.