Three little letters Disneyland doesn’t want to hear



Being a theme park fan requires getting to know a lot of initialisms, such as DCA, SFMM and WDW. Fans love to save keystrokes when discussing their favorite parks and attractions online. (Which is something that Disney perhaps should have considered when naming Alien Swirling Saucers and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor.)

But in the past few weeks, Disneyland has become closely associated with another three-letter combo that no business ever wants to see next to its name in a news story.

FBI.

The Disneyland Resort has been tipped to be the “Company A” in FBI affidavits that led to the resignation of Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu. The FBI has been investigating allegations of corrupt practices in and around the City of Anaheim government. While the main focus has been the city’s dealings with the Los Angeles Angels baseball team, Disneyland has been caught up in a larger investigation of corporate influence in the city’s affairs.

Disneyland is facing no charges in the investigation, which does not allege any illegal activity by the theme park resort. The affidavits do allege that Company A executives wrote public statements to be delivered by Sidhu and helped coordinated support for other city officials. But all of that is legal and 100 percent routine activity for companies doing business in a community.

Absolutely no one should be surprised by reports that big companies try to influence local, state and national government officials. Look at the public records detailing campaign contributions and you will find countless entries from business executives, relatives of business executives and lawyers and lobbyists representing business executives. The Citizens United decision also now allows greater direct contributions from corporations to candidates’ campaigns.

Every company the size of Disney employs entire departments of people to write press releases and talking points memos to inform journalists and public officials what the company is doing and planning, too. If those reporters and public officials end up just parroting those releases rather that writing their own words, all the better for the company.



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