Huckabee sends viewers to his PAC under the guise of signing a petition

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

On two Fox News shows, Fox host Mike 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. Huckabee is the latest Fox News personality to ask viewers to visit PAC websites without disclosing the website's nature or whether they stand to gain financially from viewers' donations.

Huckabee urges viewers to visit balancecutsave.com

Huckabee tells viewers, "You can go to balancecutsave.com -- that's balancecutsave.com." On his Fox News show, Huckabee asked his viewers to sign a petition at balancecutsave.com so they could "tell Congress that we want them to balance the budget, we want them to cut their spending, and we want them to save American families." From Huckabee:

HUCKABEE: I believe that members of Congress ought to be reminded that they work for us. We don't work for them. Rather than continue to spend money that they don't have and push deficits through the sky, and make it tough for families to get jobs and pay their bills, they need to balance the budget, cut their spending, and save American families from the disaster of debt and deficits. Now, I'm collecting electronic signatures to deliver a message to Congress, and I want you to be a part of what I hope's going to be 100,000 people signing our balance, cut, and save petition. You can go to balancecutsave.com -- that's balancecutsave.com. Lend your name and your voice along with mine to remind Congress who they work for.

By the way -- one of the things we did -- we put this on Greta the other night, balancecutsave, and the servers crashed. So, if you go and it says unavailable, keep trying. We've added new servers to try to handle it. You can also try through MikeHuckabee.com, but I want you to join us. Sign that petition. Let's tell Congress that we want them to balance the budget, we want them to cut their spending, and we want them to save American families. [Huckabee, 10/4/09]

Huckabee pushes petition on On the Record. Huckabee also appeared on the October 1 edition of Fox News' On the Record to promote the petition. He said he was "trying to get 100,000 names" and told viewers they could "[g]o to balancecutsave.com ... or they can go to the MikeHuckabee.com website and follow the links." After Huckabee told host Greta Van Susteren that he was also promoting the website through Twitter, Van Susteren said, "[P]lease, you've got to Twitter for Governor Huckabee because I want to raise his numbers tonight, so see if we can't get more people."

Balancecutsave.com redirects visitors to Huck PAC, which supports Republican candidates and pays Sarah Huckabee's salary

Balancecutsave.com directs users to petitions on HuckPAC.com. Balancecutsave.com is not a website on its own; users are immediately redirected to a petition page on Huckabee's political action committee website, HuckPAC.com. Once visitors have signed the petition, they are then directed to a page asking for donations. In addition to a YouTube video featuring Huckabee soliciting donations, the website asks for "any contribution of $15 or more."

huckpac

Huck PAC is "committed" to electing Republicans and will "promote their campaigns and financially support their efforts." According to its "mission" statement, "Huck PAC is committed to helping Republicans regain control of the House and Senate, regain a majority of governorships and supporting conservative principles around the country," and will "support Republican candidates who are passionate advocates for tax reform, a strong national defense, real border security, life, the family, less government, and individual liberty." The site also says the PAC will "identify candidates who hold firm to these principles, promote their campaigns and financially support their efforts."

Huck PAC Federal Election Commission disclosure form lists Sarah Huckabee as an employee. A July 2009 Federal Election Commission document for Huck PAC lists Sarah Huckabee -- Mike Huckabee's daughter -- as the recipient of $4,500 per month in funds; Sarah Huckabee is reportedly the executive director of Huck PAC.

Fox News personalities help PACs raise funds

*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, Dick 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.

Huckabee advances falsehood that people who don't buy health insurance face jail or a "heavy fine"

Huckabee: Those who don't buy insurance "will be subject to a heavy fine, even going to jail." Also on his show, Huckabee said: "One of the proposed health care bills circulating in Congress would make it mandatory for everyone in America to have health insurance, and those who don't will be subject to a heavy fine, even going to jail. I want to talk to some people in their 20s, some younger people who don't necessarily place health insurance at the top of their priority list."

In fact, only those who don't pay penalty face fine, jail

Bill establishes a $1,900 penalty for those who violate the personal responsibility requirement. The Senate Finance Committee's America's Healthy Future Act of 2009 includes a "Personal Responsibility Requirement" that states, "Beginning in 2013, all U.S. citizens and legal residents would be required to purchase coverage." Changes to the bill established a maximum penalty of $1,900 for violating this requirement.

Politico: JCT confirmed penalty for "failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee"; "Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty." As the Politico noted in a September 25 report, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) received a note from Tom Barthold, chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation, "confirming the penalty for failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance." Politico reported: "Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote."

Title 26, Sec. 7203 of the U.S. Code establishes penalties for tax evasion. In his note to Ensign, Barthold cited Section 7203 of the U.S. Code, which establishes a fine or imprisonment as penalties for failure to pay a tax. From the code:

Any person required under this title to pay any estimated tax or tax, or required by this title or by regulations made under authority thereof to make a return, keep any records, or supply any information, who willfully fails to pay such estimated tax or tax, make such return, keep such records, or supply such information, at the time or times required by law or regulations, shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $25,000 ($100,000 in the case of a corporation), or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both, together with the costs of prosecution..

Transcripts

From the October 4 edition of Fox News' Huckabee:

HUCKABEE: I believe that members of Congress ought to be reminded that they work for us. We don't work for them. Rather than continue to spend money that they don't have and push deficits through the sky, and make it tough for families to get jobs and pay their bills, they need to balance the budget, cut their spending, and save American families from the disaster of debt and deficits. Now, I'm collecting electronic signatures to deliver a message to Congress, and I want you to be a part of what I hope's going to be 100,000 people signing our balance, cut, and save petition. You can go to balancecutsave.com -- that's balancecutsave.com. Lend your name and your voice along with mine to remind Congress who they work for.

By the way -- one of the things we did -- we put this on Greta the other night, Balance, Cut, Save, and the servers crashed. So, if you go and it says unavailable, keep trying. We've added new servers to try to handle it. You can also try through MikeHuckabee.com, but I want you to join us. Sign that petition. Let's tell Congress that we want them to balance the budget, we want them to cut their spending, and we want them to save American families.

One of the proposed health care bills circulating in Congress would make it mandatory for everyone in America to have health insurance, and those who don't will be subject to a heavy fine, even going to jail. I want to talk to some people in their 20s, some younger people who don't necessarily place health insurance at the top of their priority list. I want to ask them how they feel about it.

From the October 1 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

VAN SUSTEREN: You work for us. Now, that's the message former Governor Mike Huckabee has for politicians in Washington, and Governor Huckabee wants you to fight with him and he wants you to sign a petition. Now, what's the petition all about? Governor Huckabee joins us live. So what's this petition?

HUCKABEE: Well, it's called Balance, Cut, Save. The idea is that Congress, before it starts these new programs, Greta, they need to balance the budget, they need to cut their spending, they need to save American families from the absolute abyss that we're going to fall into.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever heard of the term "fat chance"?

HUCKABEE: Well, it's still important to put some pressure on it. When I hear people like [Sen.] Tom Harkin [D-IA], who today in the Senate basically said, we're going to have a bill that's going to have a public option, we don't care if the Republicans are at the table -- in fact, they're not going to be at the table. And moving forward with it. They're completely tone deaf to the people they work for.

So the idea of the petition -- we're trying to get 100,000 names at balancecutsave.com. We want to just remind Congress, folks, don't know if you remember this, but we don't work for you, you work for us. The American form of government really is supposed to be that we elect some servant leaders, rather than lords and noblemen.

[...]

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you -- Twitter -- you're a Twitterer, and apparently that's how the word got out tonight about this petition, or at least it's --

HUCKABEE: Well, there are quite a few people who follow me on Twitter.

VAN SUSTEREN: How many do you have?

HUCKABEE: There are several thousand. I don't keep up with the exact number.

VAN SUSTEREN: So we tell our viewers --

HUCKABEE: I'm not trying to beat with Ashton Kutcher, I tell you.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, he's not trying to beat Ashton, but please, you've got to Twitter for Governor Huckabee because I want to raise his numbers tonight, so see if we can't get more people. But what did you Twitter tonight to --

HUCKABEE: Well, what we did, we just reminded people about our petition, and we're urging them to let's get 50,000 additional names by Friday.

VAN SUSTEREN: And then what are you going to do --

HUCKABEE: By Friday at midnight.

VAN SUSTEREN: -- with the -- with the petition?

HUCKABEE: We're going to get them to the members of Congress. We're going to let them know that we have 100,000 names of Americans who are voters, who are citizens, who pay their salaries, who pay the freight for all the things they're doing, who want them to balance the budget, cut some of the expenses, and save American families the trouble of a failed economy.

[...]

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Governor. If you want to sign the petition, where do you go?

HUCKABEE: Go to balancecutsave.com --

VAN SUSTEREN: OK.

HUCKABEE: -- balancecutsave, or they can go to the MikeHuckabee.com website and follow the links. Either place will get them there.

*Note: This paragraph replaces a paragraph from an earlier version of this item.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Greta Van Susteren, Mike Huckabee
Show/Publication
On The Record with Greta Van Susteren
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