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Satellite companies are reaching for their checkbooks and contributing thousands of dollars to political campaigns and candidates this election year, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.

EchoStar, which has one of the longest lists of political donations among satellite companies on the FEC Web site, has made contributions to political candidates and committees totaling a little more than $176,000 for the 2001-2002 election cycle.

Some of EchoStar's key donations include Billy Tauzin, the Louisiana Republican and chairman of the House Commerce Committee, who received $2,000 from the company's PAC this year, according to FEC data. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) received $1,000 from the PAC, while Richard Gephardt, the Missouri Democrat and House Minority Leader, took $3,000 from EchoStar for 2002.

Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, got $2,000 from EchoStar's PAC for 2002. Also included are EchoStar/DirecTV merger supporters Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), each taking $1,000 from the PAC for 2002.

News Corp., which lost its bid to acquire DirecTV and Hughes to EchoStar last fall, listed more than $70,000 in contributions for the 2001-2002 election cycle. Its News America/FOX PAC has given $4,000 to Tauzin this year, and $1,000 each to Upton and Ernest Hollings, the South Carolina senator and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Hughes Electronics' contributions to campaigns and committees has totaled $16,000 for the 2001-2002 election cycle, the FEC data said. Donations included Boucher ($1,000 for 2002), and U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat ($5,000 for 2002).

Loral's "Civic Responsibility" PAC listed more than $88,000 in political contributions. Key donations included Gephardt, Harman, Tauzin, and Upton, who each received $1,000 from Loral for 2002.

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
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