Santorum uses Fox employment to push his PAC-endorsed candidate

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

There are a lot of benefits for office-aspiring Fox News pundits besides the paycheck. As former FNC "political analyst" turned congressional candidate Angela McGlowan told the New York Times, while a Fox position doesn't guarantee an election win, "it helps with getting ready to run, and it helps with name ID."

During last night's On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren turned to Fox News "political analyst" Rick Santorum for 2010 election analysis. During the discussion, Santorum touted the prospects of Rep. Mark Kirk's (R-IL) senate campaign and attacked his Democratic opponent as someone who is "under a whole bunch of ethical clouds, tied to Tony Rezko and other nefarious characters. I think Kirk will win that seat."

While it's not surprising that Santorum is pushing a fellow Republican for office, Santorum has outside, non-"political analyst" reasons to cheerlead for Kirk. Santorum is the chairman of America's Foundation, "the political action committee of former Senator Rick Santorum" that's "committed to helping candidates and causes who share Senator Santorum's commitment to conservative principles." On its "Featured Candidates" page, America's Foundation states that it's made contributions to Kirk's senate campaign. The PAC's year-end FEC statement lists a September contribution of $1,000 to Kirk.

In promoting Kirk's candidacy, neither Santorum nor Van Susteren -- whose slogan is "nothing gets by Greta" -- disclosed Santorum's connection to Kirk.

America's Foundation is a leadership PAC, which exists to help politicians like Santorum "gain clout among their colleagues" to "lay the groundwork for their own campaigns for higher office." In other words, Santorum -- who is exploring a 2012 presidential bid -- donated to a Republican to "gain clout," and then used his position at Fox News to further push his "featured candidate."

Sarah Palin (SarahPAC) and Mike Huckabee (Huck PAC) also have leadership PACs while they contemplate bids for office. In 2009, Huckabee repeatedly used Fox News to fundraise for his PAC on-air; Fox News also provided round-the-clock publicity for Newt Gingrich's "Real Jobs Summit," which was hosted by his American Solutions organization. As the mid-term elections near, expect more of the confluence between Fox News employees and their outside political organizations as they position themselves for future campaigns.

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Fox News Channel
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Rick Santorum
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