In late June, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich headlined a fundraiser for New York congressional candidate John Gomez (R). According to FEC records, the Gomez campaign paid $10,921 to fly Gingrich in on a private plane. Last month, Newsday reported (via Nexis) that "Gomez arranged Gingrich's visit through childhood friend and TV host Sean Hannity."
Hannity's help is a fulfillment of a reported promise earlier this year to Republican and Conservative Party leaders in exchange for Gomez receiving their party nods. On March 7, before the nominee selection, Newsday reported that Gomez is "among the GOP front-runners to take on five-term Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) because he has an 800-pound gorilla in his corner: megastar radio and Fox TV conservative pundit Sean Hannity." The Long Island paper reported that the Fox News host assured leaders that he would "do all he could" to promote Gomez, help him fundraise and bring in headliners for events:
Gomez wowed Suffolk GOP leaders by bringing in Hannity for a meeting two weeks ago and another with county Conservative chairman Edward Walsh. GOP sources say Hannity touted his boyhood friend as a conservative who can win, vowing "to do all he could" to promote Gomez, help fundraise and bring in headliners for events. Hannity last week even tried to coax an on-air endorsement from Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford). Hannity declined to comment.
Gingrich isn't the only headliner and endorser connected to Hannity.
In July, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared at a Gomez rally and fundraiser. The day before her appearance, Hannity hosted Bachmann on his Fox News program to tout Gomez and the Long Island rally. Bachmann is a frequent guest on Hannity's radio and television programs, and Hannity and his wife have donated to Bachmann's political action committee.
Another Hannity friend, conservative radio host Mark Levin, issued a message of support for Gomez early in the campaign. Hannity, in turn, forwarded Levin's message to his radio show subscriber list.
Fox News contributor Sarah Palin - a frequent guest on Hannity's programs - endorsed Gomez in a July 28 tweet.
Fox News contributor Dick Morris - another frequent Hannity guest - included Gomez in a September 7 email on "KEY HOUSE RACES THAT NEED HELP." Morris wrote that Gomez "isn't on the radar screens, but has a good chance of pulling an upset but needs funding. To donate online to Gomez's campaign, Go Here." Morris mentioned Gomez on Hannity's September 9 Fox News program as "the 10 new House races that are the new swing races." Morris stated:
MORRIS: The -- it's time for us to raise our artillery. So instead of going just to the 40 seats that we need -- the Republicans need to take, or the 20 more seats that they might take, let's go for the 20 and the 20 beyond that -- 60 to 100 seats.
I have a list on my Web site right now of the 10 new House races that are the new swing races. You're getting -- you take the state of Colorado just as an example. Betsy Markey. That was supposed to be one of the swing races. If we win that we have control probably.
So this -- the one we're talking about in New York, John Gomez. Everybody is looking at the Bishop seat, Suffolk County. Yes, we're going to beat Bishop.
MORRIS: But we might beat Cy Israel in the next district.
HANNITY: Steve Israel. Yes.
MORRIS: Steve Israel in the next district.
HANNITY: Yes, I agree with you.
Hannity is also putting his money where his mouth is: on his September 24 radio program, Hannity interviewed Gomez and helped him solicit donations, stating: "I donated, and my wife donated." According to FEC records, Hannity and his wife donated a total of $9,600 to Gomez's campaign for the primary and general:
- $2,400, 07/15/2010
- $2,400, 07/15/2010
- $2,400, 5/01/2010
- $2,400, 5/01/2010
To recap: Fox News host Sean Hannity has made good on his reported promise to political leaders that he would use his media position to promote, fundraise, and bring in headliners for a Republican candidate for congress. Still, Fox News apparently hasn't raised a single objection.