Eighty-seven Percent of Donations Made by Largest Spanish-Language Network go to Dems

Actions speak louder than words. Just like Jorge Ramos is currently losing the argument that he’s a fair journalist, his network’s PAC donations are confirming Univision has the exact same problem.

Though Univision Communications, Inc. -- Univision’s PAC -- talks about Latino voters as if it were nonpartisan, 87 percent of its political donations have gone directly to Democratic candidates. The PAC’s money comes from Univision employees and spouses, including large donations from Univision leadership. Glenda Martinez and Timothy Spillane, two high level executives, together donated $76,552 to the PAC since 2008.

The Univision PAC was started in 2007 and made its first political donations in the 2008 election cycle. Of the $569,000 the PAC has donated to candidates in those five election cycles, $494,000 has gone to support Democratic candidates, while only $75,000 has gone to Republicans. In other words, 87 percent of Univision’s political donations promote Democratic politicians.

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The network has a laundry list of liberal ties -- from partnering with the Clinton Foundation, to Univision’s owner, Haim Saban, vowing to spend whatever was necessary to fund Hillary’s campaign. Furthermore, a full one half of Univision’s news reports are left-leaning, and the network turns to Democrat and liberal commentators three times as much as it turns to conservatives.

Univision is also home to Ramos, who is currently making headlines for being removed from a Trump news conference after lecturing instead of asking questions. Rather than reining in their activist journalist (who has been making claims like, “the best journalism happens when you take a stand” and that Trump’s positions should be “denounced” by journalists), Univision has allowed him free rein to use his platform as a personal soapbox.

In April 2015, Univision’s News President, Isaac Lee, argued in complete seriousness that advancing “the agenda” was more important than being a fair and balanced journalist. Univision’s executives, staff, and spouses have echoed that sentiment by pouring $747k into the network’s partisan PAC, according to OpenSecrets.

The PAC’s favoritism towards Democratic candidates was even more dramatic than what Latino voters themselves demonstrated during the 2012 elections. Obama received 71% of the Hispanic vote and Romney received 27% -- a less partisan split than Univision’s political donations, according to the Pew Research Center.

While Univision’s Latino Voters’ division attempts to give the impression that it works on behalf of both Democrats and Republicans, in reality it largely supports one party. For example, an August 21, 2015, article detailed the findings from the Univision News Hispanic Electorate Poll. The poll found that 32% of registered Latino voters self-describe as “conservative,” while only 28% call themselves “liberal.” The article then concludes, “This disconnect between affiliation and political POV suggests that the GOP in particular could benefit from advertising to Latinos with messages that highlight their shared conservative values.”

Earlier in 2015, the Univision Insights Team similarly paid lip service to Republicans by posting an interview it had conducted with former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on the lessons he learned about Latino voters in the 2012 election.

The same day however, the Univision Insights Team republished a story that originally ran in The Washington Post discussing Democratic “alarm” that the Koch funded LIBRE Initiative was sponsoring a program to help Hispanics learn to drive. Instead of praising all efforts to improve the lives and opportunities of Latinos in the U.S., Univision used the Post to only tell the anti-conservative side of the story.

One obvious question is why a network devoted to Latino causes never supported two prominent conservative Latinos who are running for president. Univision has never supported campaigns for either Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-Tx.), or Sen. Marco Rubio, (R-Fla.), even though both are Latino. Rather, Univision has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to liberal organizations and individuals. An April 2014 study of balance in Univision broadcasting found that one in two news reports were left-leaning, and that “Democrats -- along with spokespeople for left-leaning advocacy organizations -- were quoted nearly three times as often as their Republican and conservative counterparts.”

Isaac Lee, president of Univision News and Digital, said in an April 2015 interview that anchor Jorge Ramos “is not asking the questions to be celebrated as a fair and balanced journalist. He’s asking the questions to represent them. He’s going to ask the person whatever is necessary to push the agenda.”

When “reporting” on the Planned Parenthood scandal, for example, Univision at first completely ignored the story. They finally broke their silence in an interview with Bernie Sanders in which he defended Planned Parenthood (without ever watching the videos), and then whitewashed the facts, using terms like “handling fees” and “fetal tissue.” The network also took up Planned Parenthood’s own feeble argument that the videos were edited to tell a different story.

Univision has also repeatedly cuddled up to the Clintons. While interviewing Hillary in mid-August 2015, the network allowed her to sidestep a discussion about her email scandal without a fight. Haim Saban, the owner of Univision, has donated between $10 and $25 million to The Clinton Foundation and vowed to spend as much as necessary to ensure a Clinton win in 2016. His wife, Cheryl, also serves on the board of the Clinton Foundation. Univision has also partnered with the Clinton Foundation, providing yet another mechanism through which Univision supports liberal causes and candidates.

The partisanship of Univision’s PAC donations was made possible by the generous support of Univision’s own staff, including the general counsel and executive vice president of Government Relations ($10,815), the executive vice president of Finance ($12,280),and the chief strategy and data officer and president of Enterprise Development ($25,168).

Univision’s Humberto Gomez, who is vice president of Univision’s Government relations and also the head of the Univision PAC, personally gave $33,288 between 2008 and 2015.

Glenda Martinez, senior vice president and associate general counsel at Univision, has given $42,440 to the PAC since 2007; the highest individual donation to the PAC. Gomez runs the Los Angeles office of Univision’s legal department and “provides legal guidance to Univision Communications Inc. on employment and labor law and general corporate matters.”

One of the Univision PAC’s largest donors was Cesar Conde. While working as president of Univision’s networks division, he gave the PAC $21,640. In 2013, however, Conde left Univision in order to work as an executive vice president at NBCUniversal.

MRC Business reached out to Humberto Gomez for comment on the appropriateness of the Univision PAC’s political donations, but Gomez did not return MRC’s call by the deadline.

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