A report Monday (July 28) from the Trichordist, a blog that often focuses on regulatory issues that would affect songwriters, accuses Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren of supporting anti-gay politician Jason Chaffetz, but a closer look at Westergren's donation history seems to illustrate that, as is so often the case, the truth is a bit less controversial.
David Lowery, the writer of the article, referenced the database of OpenSecrets.org, a site that collects information on political donations, to illustrate his point. A cursory look at OpenSecrets' data on Westergren shows the entrepreneur having regularly donated money to politicians and political action committees (PACs) dating back to 2004, when he gave the presidential candidate John Kerry $2,000 (the only donation, it's worth noting, where Pandora wasn't attributed in any way). OpenSecrets shows Westergren has donated to over 40 politicians and PACs since 2004, totaling $192,268. Over 40 of those donations were to Democratic Party-aligned politicians and PACs (including Barack Obama), but also include Senator Orrin Hatch, famous stalwart of the Republican party.
Pandora's director of public affairs, Dave Grimaldi, issued a statement to Billboard, saying that the article "is an unfortunate distraction from the substantive conversation about how to ensure that the music industry thrives well into the future."