Monday, October 28, 2013

In new director Prophet, a big political spender

Gannett newsroom staffers are subject to a special ethics policy meant to shore up the public's trust in the company's ability to operate fairly and deliver news that's independent of powerful interests.

Prophet and Romney
The policy is especially sensitive to partisan political activities, including bumper stickers and yard signs -- and signatures on candidate recall petitions, which was the controversial, high-profile case in Wisconsin back in 2012 that ensnared newsroom employees at five Gannett dailies.

But for everyone else, the companywide ethics policy grants considerable flexibility on political activities such as campaign contributions, a fact illustrated by the newest member of the board of directors: Tony Prophet.

The policy says: "Personal contributions to political parties or candidates are a matter of individual choice. Such contributions may not be represented as being on behalf of the company. Gannett funds cannot be used for political contributions."

Prophet, who officially joins the board tomorrow, was far and away the 10-seat board's most generous financial backer of Congressional and presidential candidates during the 2012 campaigns, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign finance at the federal level.

He donated nearly $54,000 in 2011-2012, the lion's share of which went to Republicans, according to the center.

Other directors' $22K
Contrast that with CEO Gracia Martore, who made just one contribution, $2,500, to the National Association of Broadcasters.

Indeed, Prophet's total donations dwarfed the combined $22,000 given by the other eight directors I found today in the center's database. (I couldn't conclusively identify the ninth director, Duncan McFarland.)

In the presidential race, Prophet supported two Republicans: the nominee, Mitt Romney, and one of his rivals, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas.

Among the other four directors who donated to presidential candidates, Chairman Marjorie Magner and Susan Ness supported President Obama. And directors Howard Elias and Scott McCune supported Romney.

This spreadsheet shows contributions for 2011-2012 for all nine directors I found in the center's database.


  1. Gannett's board chairperson is an Obama supporter? No wonder the big push for Obamacare!

  2. Obviously as dumb as he is rich.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. It makes absolutely no difference who this lazy board of directors choose to throw their money at during presidential campaign. It's their money, their politics, their decisions. I could care less. What's troubling is that there's no one on this board that has the knowledge, creativity, or vision to design realistic growth strategy for Gannett.

    Let's face it. This is a 'validation board of directors. They are there to 'validate' the lazy ideas Gracia and the co-called leadership committee comes up with. They are not there to challenge them or hold them accountable to anything.

    So, Jim, while I appreciate the research, highlighting who these people vote for is irrelevant. Political affiliation and gender appears to the only thing that's diverse about this board. Oh, but I guess since they now have their AA slot filled, perhaps they can call themselves racially diverse too.

  4. Funny because so many of the readers here DIDN'T vote for Obama. Hippocrates.

  5. So what. Donna Shalala, Clinton's health secretary and supporter of the aborted Hillarycare, was on the Gannett board.

  6. Can't blame Gracia for being so tight-fisted and cheap when it comes to donations. Didn't she willingly cut her salary by a couple hundred thousand so she could feel our pain?

  7. This is only getting attention because he made a republican contribution. You libs in the media can't stand seeing a successful conservative minority. There are a few smart ones out there who understand that Obama's extreme socialist agenda is an economic disaster waiting to happen.


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