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Netflix forms FLIXPAC for direct political donations (update)

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Netflix has formed a political action committee (PAC) that will let it donate directly to politicians, the latest step in its lobbying efforts.

Gallery Photo: Netflix for PS Vita app screenshots
Gallery Photo: Netflix for PS Vita app screenshots

Streaming and DVD favorite Netflix has gone from simply supporting proposed legislation to forming its own political action committee (PAC) in order to donate directly to politicians. Politico has found an FEC filing from last week for "FLIXPAC," a recently-organized Netflix PAC that would be able to donate up to $5,000 per election to a given federal candidate. As Politico notes, this is the latest step in the company's growing lobbying effort. In 2009, Netflix spent only $20,000 on federal lobbying; by 2011, that had jumped to $500,000.

In some cases, it's pretty clear what policies Netflix will be supporting. It's previously urged its customers to advocate for a law that would allow US users to share viewing data on Facebook, for instance. The company has also supported net neutrality provisions, which would stop ISPs from slowing its service in order to help their own video services. On the other hand, it remained roughly neutral on more controversial measures like SOPA. Whether it's the postal service or an ISP, Netflix is dependent on distribution channels to get its content across, so the company clearly has a vested interest in keeping Congress on its side. FLIXPAC may also be a sign that Netflix feels it's getting big enough to make more personal investments in candidates.

Update: Netflix reached out to AllThingsD to clarify just what the company's intentions are with FLIXPAC:

"PACs are commonplace for companies that lead a big, growing market and Netflix is no exception. Our PAC is a way for our employees to support candidates that understand our business and technology. It was not set up for the purpose of supporting SOPA or PIPA. Instead, Netflix has engaged on other issues including network neutrality, bandwidth caps, usage based billing and reforming the Video Privacy Protection Act."