Games Industry Lobbyists Target Washington Pols

BOOM widget 113807After years of playing the defensive game against Washington's continual attempts to over-legislate video games, the Entertainment Software Body now plans to take a more aggressive tack.

Michael Gallagher (pictured left), who has headed up the ESA since founder Doug Lowenstein's resignation last year, has indicated the organization will start courting Washington politicians in the months to come--deep in the midst of Republicans and Democratics choosing their presidential nominees.

"We will be writing checks to campaigns by the end of this quarter," said Gallagher to The New York Times. "This is an important step in the political maturation process of the industry that we are ready to take now. This is about identifying and supporting champions for the game industry on Capitol Hill so that they support us."

The ESA will establish a political action committee (PAC) to push the interests of the games industry; it represents Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony--the industry's traditional Big Four--as well as increasingly prolific game publisher Disney. Gallagher said the group intends to donate $50,000-$100,000 to campaigns this year.

Though few attempts to curb or restrict video game sales have seen any measure of success, games remain a frequent target for politicians who see harm in virtual depictions of violence or sexual content. The medium tends to be considerably more often under fire than other entertainment forms such as film and music.

Game laws tend to be attempted at the state and local levels, though presidential candidate and senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has been a frequent figure in game- legislating politics; she has more recently backed down in her attempts.

Last November, Gallagher and the ESA held a reception attended by several dozen members of Congress; Wii Sports was reportedly a big hit.

Gallagher himself has experience in politics; according to the Times, he installed Doom on the office computers of former representative Rick White (R-WA) when he was the congressman's chief of staff.