FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
Media Matters demands Fox News host respond to CREW filing complaints with FTC, IRS
Washington, D.C. -- Today, Media Matters for America responded to news that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had filed complaints with the FTC and the IRS against Fox News host Sean Hannity, his Freedom Concerts, the Freedom Alliance, and fellow Fox News host Oliver North. CREW alleges that while Hannity has promoted the concerts on his show, claiming that "100 percent of the donations are applied to the Freedom Alliance scholarship fund," the money actually goes to Premiere Marketing. (Duane Ward heads both Premiere Marketing and Premiere Speakers Bureau -- which exclusively represents Hannity and North.) According to CREW, Premiere Marketing, in turn, donates an unknown portion of the proceeds to Freedom Alliance.
"These are serious allegations that Sean Hannity, Oliver North, and their agent must address," said Eric Burns, president of Media Matters for America. "Hannity's listeners were told that '100 percent' of their money was going toward scholarships for the children of service members. If, in fact, this is not the case, these donors deserve to know how their money is being spent."
From CREW's release [emphasis in original]:
Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against Sean Hannity, his Freedom Concerts, the Freedom Alliance and Lt. Col. Oliver North. Copies of the complaints were also sent to the attorney generals of the states in which concerts are scheduled to be held this summer.
CREW's FTC complaint alleges Hannity and Freedom Concerts have engaged in illegal and deceptive marketing practices by suggesting that all money generated by ticket sales for the Freedom Concerts he sponsors each summer goes to scholarships for children of killed and wounded service members. In fact, the concerts are staged by Premiere Marketing, which is headed by Duane Ward -- also the head of Premiere Speakers Bureau, which exclusively represents Mr. Hannity and Lt. Col. North. After staging the concerts, Premiere donates an unknown portion of the concert proceeds to the Freedom Alliance.
Hannity has promoted the concerts on his show, making statements such as, "Every penny, 100 percent of the donations are applied to the Freedom Alliance scholarship fund." Similarly, promoting the concert on Hannity's program, Lt. Col. North has said, "There's no overhead. There's no expenses taken out. Every penny that's donated or that's raised through things like the Freedom Concerts" goes to the scholarship fund." In addition, Hannity has pledged that all the proceeds of his new book, "Conservative Victory," will go to Freedom Alliance.