Did News Corp.'s RGA donation violate company policy?

We already know that News Corp.'s $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors Association all but confirms that Fox News is little more than the media arm of the Republican Party. But it turns out that the donation may violate company policy as well.

The News Corp. website has posted the company's “Standards of Business Conduct.” Under the section “Dealing With Government Officials,” it states (emphasis added):

No payment shall be made to, or for the benefit of, any public official in order to induce or entice such official to: enact, defeat or violate any law or regulation for the Company's benefit; influence any official act; or obtain any favorable action by a governmental agency or official on behalf of the Company.

Social amenities, entertainment and other courtesies may be extended to government officials or employees only to the extent appropriate and reasonable under applicable laws and customs. Gifts of greater than nominal value to, or lavish entertainment of, public officials are prohibited. No gifts in the form of cash, stock or other similar consideration shall be given, regardless of amount. Any gift about which an employee is uncertain should not be made without the prior written approval of the Company's General Counsel. Any expenses incurred by a Company employee in connection with the matters discussed herein shall be accurately recorded on the Company's books and records.

Further, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal parent that News Corp. acquired a couple years back, has a similar policy stating that "Dow Jones does not contribute, directly or indirectly, to political campaigns or to political parties or groups seeking to raise money for political campaigns or parties, and Dow Jones does not and will not reimburse any employee for any political contribution made by an employee.

News Corp. stated that its reason for donating to the RGA was that “the RGA's pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy.” Bloomberg pointed out that one possible motivation for the donation is possible state influence on “proposed federal rule changes that would weaken the position of its Fox network in negotiations with cable companies.”

It appears that News Corp.'s donation goes against the spirit, if not the letter, of its own prohibitions against such contributions.

(h/t Think Progress)