Politics

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick spent big money to back GOP campaigns through another LLC

Key Points
  • Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has another LLC that he used to donate big money to Republican campaigns.
  • The company, Norgate LLC, contributed $500,000 through two separate checks to the Senate Leadership Fund during the 2020 election cycle, according to federal filings reviewed by CNBC.
  • CNBC had reported Tuesday about another Kotick company, called 807080A LLC, which had given big donations to Republican causes.

In this article

Bobby Kotick, chief executive officer of Activision Blizzard Inc., walks the grounds after the morning session during the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 13, 2017.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Bobby Kotick, CEO of video game maker Activision, has another limited liability company that he used to donate big money to Republican campaigns.

The company, Norgate LLC, contributed $500,000 through two separate checks to the Senate Leadership Fund during the 2020 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission filings reviewed by CNBC. That political action committee is run by allies of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and was created to support Republicans running for the Senate.

CNBC had reported Tuesday about another Kotick company, called 807080A LLC, which had given big donations to Republican causes.

On one of its two FEC filings, Norgate lists an identical California address to 807080A LLC. The latter firm has contributed at least $100,000 funding Republican efforts, including a super PAC backing former Bridgewater CEO Dave McCormick, who is running for Pennsylvania's Senate seat in a GOP primary.

The second Norgate FEC filing shows an address that is an approximately one minute walk from the other location, according to Google Maps.

CNBC first reported on 807080A and their donation to the pro-McCormick outside group. Both private companies have matching addresses to two of Kotick's foundations. The contribution to the Senate Leadership Fund marks the biggest known donation the Activision CEO has made to a political organization.

Donors often use LLCs to conceal their identity and avoid scrutiny as they finance their preferred candidates for office. Real estate executive Stephen Rosenberg used a shell company to back then President Donald Trump after years of supporting Democrats. The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group which tracks political spending, says LLCs can be "created primarily to conceal the true source of money flowing to super PACs that spend millions of dollars to influence elections."

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While Democrats won a slight edge in the Senate during the 2020 election, Republicans fended off numerous challengers across the country. The Senate Leadership Fund that cycle spent over $270 million against Democrats running for Senate seats that cycle, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Outside of the Democratic victories in Georgia, data shows the super PAC helped Republicans win in North Carolina, Iowa, Montana and South Carolina, among others.

The watchdog Campaign Legal Center flagged the Norgate donations to CNBC. The group said its researchers confirmed that the personal mailbox "PMB K," which is listed on one of the Norgate FEC filings, corresponds to a single registration known as "personal mailbox K." The watchdog said its research showed that the names of a Kotick foundation, Norgate and Kotick himself are registered to that mailbox.

Mark Herr, a spokesman for Kotick, told CNBC in an emailed statement on Thursday that the video game executive has given almost the same amount to Democrats and Republicans over the past five years. He also pointed out the work of a Kotick-led foundation. The statement does not give further details on Norgate LLC.

"Over the past five years, Mr. Kotick has contributed roughly the same amount to Democrats and Republicans. His contributions are focused on candidates and causes primarily in support of veterans issues and specifically veterans employment," Herr said. "His giving and that of the Call of Duty Foundation, which he co-chairs, is with the goal of ensuring all veterans have employment opportunities that reflect the sacrifices they make through their service."

That representative previously told CNBC that 807080A LLC was used to manage some of Kotick's investments. Though Kotick has given to both major political parties, records show that his his bigger individual checks have mainly gone to Republicans.

Kotick and Activision have been under the spotlight in recent months.

Microsoft announced in January that it agreed to buy Activision for a deal worth north of $68 billion. Microsoft has said it's aiming to close the deal fiscal 2023.

Activision has also been the focus of numerous reports detailing accusations of sexual misconduct.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Kotick was aware of the allegations and sometimes didn't inform the company's board of directors. An Activision Blizzard spokeswoman said at the time that Kotick "would not have been informed of every report of misconduct at every Activision Blizzard company, nor would he reasonably be expected to have been updated on all personnel issues."

Clarification: This story was updated to reflect that Kotick's donations to organizations supporting Republican Senate candidates were made through limited liability corporations to which his name was not attached, not secret companies.