As Media Matters noted this morning:
Amidst a firestorm of criticism, reportedly "furious" Fox News executives have yanked Sean Hannity from taping his April 15 show at a Cincinnati Tea Party event which charged admission and had "all proceeds" benefiting the organization. As Media Matters for America had reported, Hannity's appearance, which was promoted on 18 different editions of his Fox News program, elicited criticism from news and broadcast veterans who questioned the ethics of raising money for a political organization during a production of a Fox News show.
It is nice to finely see Fox News reigning in Hannity's political money raising but it should be noted this is not the first time the conservative network's host has gone to bat raising dough for right-wing causes and campaigns.
Throughout the Republican presidential primary season in late 2007 and early 2008, Hannity routinely hosted former New York City Mayor (of course, he's now a frequent Fox News presence) Rudy Giuliani without telling his audience that he had helped raise money for Giuliani's GOP presidential primary bid. The New York Daily News reported at the time:
It's no secret that Sean Hannity, the conservative Fox News commentator, has helped to raise Rudy Giuliani's profile -- but now he's helped the former mayor raise money, too.
In a little noticed event this month, Hannity -- co-host of Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes" and host of a popular WABC radio show -- introduced the Republican front-runner at a closed-door, $250-per-head fund-raiser Aug. 9 in Cincinnati, campaign officials acknowledge.
"Sean is not a journalist -- Sean is a conservative commentator," said Bill Shine, Fox's senior vice president of programming. "Sean doesn't hide, and never has hidden, his beliefs from anyone."
Last October, Hannity was back at it, this time raising campaign cash for former Fox News host now-Ohio Republican Gubernatorial candidate John Kasich. The Plain Dealer's Mark Naymik reported on the event (ticket prices ranged between $500 and $20,000) at the time:
Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich is bringing conservative pundit Sean Hannity of Fox News to Northeast Ohio for a high-dollar fund-raiser. The Oct. 9 event will be at GOP stalwart and millionaire industrialist Ed Crawford's home in Kirtland Hills.
Last fall, Politico reported that Kasich's platform at Fox News was a "boost" to his candidacy. Indeed. Hannity was also slated to raise even more dough for Kasich during his trip to Cincinnati for the since-cancelled Tea party broadcast.
In addition to Giuliani and Kasich, Hannity has also raised campaign money for Jeanine Pirro's (she's now a TV judge à la Wapner) 2006 campaign for U.S. Senate in New York, pledging a "maximum" contribution to her bid and asking listeners to donate as well.
He also raised money for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), headlining a Washington fundraiser just last month.
Tea party money machine or not, Hannity has a long track record of raising political cash for right-wing interests -- this latest ordeal is not his first time at the rodeo.