Fox News Hides Newt Gingrich's Six-Figure Conflict Of Interest In Anti-Union Commentary
Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI
Fox News and Fox Business have allowed Newt Gingrich to praise anti-union legislation without disclosing that he's been paid at least $140,000 by an organization lobbying for the bill in question.
Gingrich wrote a March 1 FoxNews.com op-ed calling on Republican candidates to support the Employee Rights Act (ERA), which "would require all union elections to take place via a federally supervised secret ballot vote." He praised the ERA as containing "common-sense" reforms and said it would be "a vehicle to propose specific pro-employee solutions on the campaign trail."
Gingrich also appeared on the January 12 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co. and praised the ERA, saying it "has a lot of protection for the workers as opposed to the union."
Fox did not disclose in either instance that Gingrich has been a paid adviser to The Center for Union Facts. The center's programs include having "researched and educated the public about the Employee Rights Act" and "engaged in limited lobbying in support of the ERA," according to the group's 2014 IRS 990 form (which is the most recent available). The group runs a pro-ERA website, which highlighted Gingrich's Fox Business appearance under the headline, "Newt Gingrich Praises ERA on Fox Business."
The group discloses in its 2014 filing that it paid Gingrich Productions (Newt's company) $140,000 in "consulting" fees for that year.
The Center for Union Facts is run by Rick Berman, a corporate lobbyist who has launched several front groups targeting progressive causes. CBS' 60 Minutes reported that Berman is infamous for being the "arch-enemy" of government efforts to reduce the use of "products like caffeine, salt, fast food and the oil they fry it in," and for opposing "Mothers Against Drunk Driving, animal rights activists, food watchdog groups and unions of every kind." A February 2006 New York Times article about the group's founding reported that "Berman said various companies and a foundation had contributed to his nonprofit group, but he refused to identify them."