Fox News Hits The GOP Fundraising Circuit

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Nine Fox News hosts and contributors are headlining 2014 fundraisers for Republican organizations across the country. The network employees are participating in Lincoln Day Dinners, annual fundraisers usually held near the beginning of the year that provide significant support for local party groups. 

The Fox fundraisers include hosts Mike Huckabee, Oliver North, and Andrea Tantaros; and contributors John Bolton, Deneen Borelli, Ben Carson, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, and Allen West.  

The Republican events can bring in big money for local Republicans. A Huckabee event in 2011 "grossed over $100,000" for Texas' Harris County GOP, while Ben Carson and Laura Ingraham have spoken at Palm Beach GOP's (FL) Lincoln Day events, which reportedly "typically takes in around $100,000" each year. Event tickets often reach into the $100s, and can increase with private reception opportunities, photos, and book signings. The events also often sell sponsorships ranging in the thousands.

Lincoln Dinners can also mean big money for the speakers. In prior years, Oregon's Lane County Republican Party paid Tucker Carlson $23,500 to keynote its 2011 dinner and John Bolton $28,330 to keynote its 2012 dinner, according to Oregon Secretary of State data and confirmed by Media Matters with a party official. Laura Ingraham was paid $12,500 for speaking in Palm Beach in 2013, according to local records. Then-Fox contributor Dick Morris received $10,000 to speak at a 2012 Lake County (FL) dinner. (Data for 2014 events isn't currently available through local campaign finance records, and even accessing older records can be difficult since some local governments do a poor job putting data online.) 

The Lincoln Day speeches aren't much different from what's heard on Fox. In Sarasota, FL, Allen West reportedly "said that Democrats have repeatedly failed the black community." In Naples, FL, John Bolton took to "[c]alling the Obama administration's foreign policy weak, ineffective or nonexistent." In Sangamon County, IL, Ben Carson suggested the country has gone "from a free society to a communist or socialist society" because of the Affordable Care Act.  

Dinner promotions have touted the speakers' affiliation with Fox News -- a regular practice with Republican events. The chair of the Sangamon County GOP told a local newspaper that they picked Carson because, "He's a conservative and (is) currently visible on TV, which makes him a celebrity draw."

Media Matters previously documented how over 30 Fox News hosts and contributors campaigned for Republican candidates and organizations during the 2011-2012 election cycle.

The following is a list of nine Fox Newsers, and the Republican Party apparatuses they're helping so far in 2014: 

John Bolton

  • Collier County Republican Party (FL), February 22. [Naples Daily News, 2/22/14; CollierGOP.org, accessed 2/24/14]
  • Camden County Republican Party (MO), April 12. [Facebook.com, 2/10/14]

Deneen Borelli

  • Iredell County Republican Party (NC), March 1. [Statesville Record & Landmark, 2/16/14; IredellGOP.com, accessed 2/24/14]

Ben Carson

  • Sangamon County Republican Party (IL), February 11. [SangamonRepublicans.com, accessed 2/24/14; State Journal-Register, 2/11/14]
  • Palm Beach County Republican Party (FL), February 21. [Twitter.com, 2/21/14, YouTube.com, 2/24/14] (Sen. Ted Cruz gave the keynote speech.) 

Mike Huckabee

  • Greene County Republican Women's Club (TN), January 31. [Greeneville Sun, 11/19/13, 2/1/14]  

Oliver North

  • Frederick County Republican Committee (VA), February 15. [Winchester Star, 2/14/14; CampaignSiteBuilder.com, accessed 2/24/14]

Sarah Palin

  • Baldwin County Republican Party (AL), April 25. [AL.com, 1/21/14; Webconnex.com, accessed 2/25/14]

Karl Rove

  • Lake County Republican Party (IN), February 8. [LakeCountyGOP.us, 1/27/14; The Times of Northwest Indiana, 2/8/14]

Andrea Tantaros                                         

  • Manatee County Republican Party (FL), February 15. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 2/9/14; Twitter.com, 2/24/14]

Allen West

  • Sarasota Republican Party (FL), February 12. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 2/12/14; SarasotaLincolnDay.com, accessed 2/25/14]
  • Palm Beach County Republican Party (FL), February 21. [Shark Tank, 2/22/14; Allen West Republic, 2/23/14] (Sen. Ted Cruz gave the keynote speech.) 
  • Knox County Republican Party (TN), March 15. [KnoxGOP.org, 2/24/14]
  • Chelan County Republican Party (WA), April 5. [ChelanCountyGOP.org, 2/10/14]
  • Walla Walla County Republican Party (WA), April 6. [WallaWallaCountyGOP.com, 1/23/14
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