Would a real news organization help GOP PACs raise money?

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

Fox News contributor Dick Morris -- who previously asked Fox News viewers to contribute to an ad campaign by the League of American Voters (LAV), which asserts it is "Leading the Fight to Stop Obama Care" -- stated on Hannity that his website has "raised now $2.5 million" to run the LAV ads against Democratic health care reform proposals. Although Fox News rejects criticism that it is viewed as a political organization, Morris and Fox host Mike Huckabee have previously used Fox News shows to raise money for Republican political action committees, and Fox News' promotion of the Tea Party Express also helped a Republican PAC with fundraising.

Morris brags about raising $2.5 million for LAV ads against health care reform

From the October 19 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

MORRIS: [A]s you know, at DickMorris.com we've raised now $2.5 million to run ads, and we're now going to turn them around and aim them at young people to acquaint them with what this program is going to mean to their budgets.

And we need you to write letters. We need you to talk to young people. I used to urge young people -- old people -- young people talk to old people about their health care. Now let young -- old people talk to young people about their pocketbook.

Morris previously used Fox News to solicit donations for LAV. Morris stated on the September 21 edition of Hannity, "[O]n my website, DickMorris.com, I'll tell you how to contribute to 10-second ads we are now running." His website featured the LAV ad and solicited donations for "[t]he New Ad Against Obamacare." While Morris stated on the September 28 edition of Hannity that he has no "financial stake in these ads," he is LAV's "chief strategist," and according to LAV executive director Bob Adams, Morris "actually crafted our ads and national campaign."

Fox News professes to be news organization

Scott ignores history to claim, "On a typical day, Fox News carries straight news coverage." During the October 17 edition of Fox News Watch, host Jon Scott reacted to White House communications director Anita Dunn's criticism that Fox News is "widely viewed as ... a part of the Republican Party" by claiming, "On a typical day, Fox News carries straight news coverage. In the evening we usually carry a mix of news programs, like Special Report and The Fox Report, bookended by a series of opinion shows." He also read a statement from Fox News senior vice president Michael Clemente: "It's astounding the White House cannot distinguish between news and opinion programming." Scott ignored his own history of uncritically advancing Republican talking points on Fox News.

Fox News figures have previously helped Republican PACs raise money

Huckabee sends viewers to his PAC under the guise of signing a petition. On two Fox News shows, Huckabee directed viewers to "go to balancecutsave.com," urging them to sign a petition telling Congress to "balance the budget," "cut their spending," and "save American families." However, balancecutsave.com redirects visitors to a web page soliciting donations for Huckabee's political action committee, which financially supports Republican candidates and also pays Huckabee's daughter's salary.

Morris asked Fox viewers to "give funds to GOPTrust.com" without noting his apparent financial ties to the organization. Between October 27, 2008, and November 17, 2008, Morris mentioned GOPTrust.com during at least 13 Fox News appearances and asked viewers to "give funds to GOPTrust.com," the website of the National Republican Trust PAC, without disclosing that the organization has paid $24,000 to a company apparently connected to Morris. Through publicly available records with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Media Matters for America found that GOPTrust.com paid Triangulation Strategies at least $24,000 from the beginning of October 2008 to November 24, 2008, mostly for "Email Communication." The "Mailing Address" for Triangulation Strategies is listed in one of the National Republican Trust PAC's FEC filings as "dickmorris.com."

Fox News "hops" aboard Tea Party Express to help PAC with fundraising. On August 28, Fox News devoted live coverage and publicity to the kickoff of the Tea Party Express, a bus tour organized by the Republican PAC Our Country Deserves Better (OCDB), whose mission is to oppose President Obama and the Democrats. Fox News' kickoff coverage followed numerous promotions of the tour on Fox News, Fox Business, the Fox Nation, and FoxNews.com. The OCDB PAC used Fox News' coverage of its Tea Party Express to fundraise in a July 29 email.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity, Dick Morris
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