And their defense is…not compelling.
Coachella’s parent company, the Anschutz Corporation, has been found to have made a substantial donation to an anti-abortion group. According to reportage from Rolling Stone in partnership with Popular Information, the company’s recent tax filings to the IRS reveal a $75,000 donation in late June — just five days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — to Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), a group centered partly around electing Attorney Generals who will enforce anti-abortion laws in their states.
Immediately after the Roe ruling and just days before the Anschutz Corporation made its donation, RAGA reportedly reached out to members asking for money, specifically to support its efforts in enforcing an abortion ban: “[E]very donation will help Republican Attorneys General combat the Democrats’ pro-abortion agenda and stand tall for life,” the message read in part, per Rolling Stone.
The report also noted that RAGA member and Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch headed the legal strategy in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that ultimately led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Moreover, 24 of the 26 other members of RAGA backed up Fitch’s stance with an amicus brief, writing that Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (the latter of which upheld Roe) “should be overruled.”
Several artists who performed at this year’s Coachella festival have been vocal about their opposition to the Supreme Court ruling, including co-headliners Harry Styles and Billie Eilish. The Anschutz Corporation, meanwhile, issued a statement to Rolling Stone denying that the donation was related to anti-abortion efforts, asserting that it has donated to RAGA for years.
“As a personal matter, [Anschutz Corporation owner] Philip F. Anschutz believes in a woman’s right to choose and did not support the reversal of Roe,” it reads in part. “Neither The Anschutz Corporation (TAC), or Mr. Anschutz, received, saw or was aware of a Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) fundraising solicitation based on the reversal of Roe v. Wade. TAC has contributed to RAGA since at least 2014. No contribution to RAGA by TAC or Mr. Anschutz has been based upon, informed by, or motivated by any RAGA position on Roe or abortion.”
The corporations also noted that in reaction the overturning of Roe, it, like many other companies, pledged to cover travel and lodging expenses for employees who need to travel out-of-state for an abortion. “We remain, as ever, committed to choice, freedom, and access to full reproductive health options for women,” the company said to Rolling Stone.
The apparent dismay about the ruling, though, only serves to further highlight the dissonance in the causes Coachella’s parent company is simultaneously funding in fistfuls. Records also showed that Anschutz Corporation donated a total of $750,000 to Republican super-PACs, and Anschutz has been publicly criticized for donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations, such as the National Christian Foundation and the Family Research Council.
“Mr. Anschutz makes contributions to numerous organizations, usually for specific reasons,” the corporation said. “He does not review or support each of the positions taken by such organizations.” Someone might want to tell them that’s not exactly a compelling defense.