FoxPAC -- Fox News hosts and contributors raise big bucks for GOP

››› ››› BRIAN FREDERICK

Fox News hosts and contributors continue to raise money for Republican candidates and causes using political action committees, 527 and 501(c)4 organizations.

SarahPAC -- over $2.5 million raised in 2010 election cycle

"SarahPAC believes the Republican Party is at the threshold of an historic renaissance that will build a better future for all." According to OpenSecrets.org, based on FEC filings, Fox News contributor and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's SarahPAC has raised $2,532,598 in the 2010 election cycle. SarahPAC has contributed $44,500 to federal candidates (89% to Republicans, 0% to Democrats).

SarahPAC has contributed to the Republican campaigns of Reps. Michele Bachmann (MN) and Roy Blunt (MO), and to Sens. John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC), among others.

The SarahPAC website states:

SarahPAC believes the Republican Party is at the threshold of an historic renaissance that will build a better future for all. Health care, education, and reform of government are among our key goals.

Gingrich's American Solutions for Winning the Future -- over $14 million raised in 2010 cycle

Gingrich's 527 "easily outpac[ed] the fundraising efforts" of Palin. Fox News contributor and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (GA) is chairman of 527 organization American Solutions for Winning the Future. Based on the group's filings with the IRS, OpenSecrets.org found that the American Solutions 527 has raised $14,494,782 in the 2010 election cycle.

Gingrich also reportedly "recently started a PAC called American Solutions, but it was only functioning for a few days last year." According to FEC filings, American Solutions PAC donated at least $1,000 to the Scott Brown for U.S. Senate Committee.

On AmericanSolutions.com, Gingrich writes that the group is a "unique tri-partisan organization designed to rise above traditional gridlocked partisanship, to provide real, significant solutions to the most important issues facing our country."

In a January 30 article, Politico reported:

Newt Gingrich's political group raised nearly $6.4 million in the second half of 2009, easily outpacing the fundraising efforts of potential rivals for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty.

Of course, American Solutions for Winning the Future, the group headed by former House Speaker Gingrich, has a distinct advantage over those fronted by former Govs. Palin of Alaska, Romney of Massachusetts and current Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty -- which raised a combined total of $4.3 million in the second half of last year.

American Solutions is a so-called 527 group, allowing it to accept unlimited donations from individuals and corporations, while the others' groups are political action committees, which are limited to maximum donations of $5,000 per-person-per-year. Though PACs are able to make contributions to federal campaigns, while 527s can't, both types of groups can be used to pay for staff, consulting, polling, fundraising, office space and travel, all things that can help ambitious politicians lay the groundwork for presidential campaigns.

According to a report filed Friday night with the Internal Revenue Service, American Solutions relied on some huge donations to pull in $6,360,032 between July 1 and Dec. 31.

Huck PAC -- over $1 million raised in 2010 election cycle

Huckabee "formed HuckPac to assist Republicans running for office nationwide." According to OpenSecrets.org, based on FEC filings, Fox News host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's Huck PAC has raised $1,096,845 in the 2010 election cycle. Huck PAC has contributed at least $19,000 to congressional candidates, all of them Republican.

His Fox News bio states that "Huckabee recently formed HuckPac to assist Republicans running for office nationwide."

In 2009, Huckabee repeatedly used Fox News to fundraise for his PAC on-air. On December 21, 2009, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz reported that "Fox executives told Huckabee to stop plugging [his] Web site on the air after learning that it linked to his political action committee, which the network deemed a conflict of interest."

Rove's American Crossroads 527 has reportedly already "received commitments of almost $30 million"

Rove's new Republican 527 reportedly "expected to play a big role in helping the GOP." In a March 31 post, National Journal reporter Peter H. Stone reported that Fox News contributor Karl Rove and Republican strategist Ed Gillespie are promoting a new 527 group called American Crossroads. Stone wrote that the group "has been assembled quietly but is expected to play a big role in helping the GOP improve their fortunes in congressional contests this fall." Stone also reported that the group has "received commitments of almost $30 million and is seeking to raise a total of some $60 million to help dozens of Senate and House incumbents and challengers this fall."

From Stone's March 31 post on the National Journal's blog, Under the Influence:

Big time donors fretting about Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele's troubles are helping fuel early fundraising success for a new 527 group being promoted by GOP uber strategists Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove.

The duo, capitalizing on upbeat expectations about GOP congressional prospects this year, spent time in Texas about a month ago. They visited with several of the state's super rich political donors and came away with a sizeable pledge from Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, who was a big bundler in 2008 for the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The new 527 group, American Crossroads, has been assembled quietly but is expected to play a big role in helping the GOP improve their fortunes in congressional contests this fall.

GOP operatives say that having Gillespie, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Rove, the ex political guru to the George W. Bush administration, pitching donors is a potent combo. "Ed's got the better rap and Karl's got the better rolodex," says a GOP lobbyist familiar with the new venture.

Gillespie has indicated that he won't be formally affiliated with the 527, but acknowledged that he's hitting up contributors for it. "I've supported the idea of a 527," Gillespie told National Journal. "I've encouraged people to support entities like American Crossroads." Rove did not return a phone call seeking comment about his efforts.

So far, the new soft-money group, American Crossroads, has received commitments of almost $30 million and is seeking to raise a total of some $60 million to help dozens of Senate and House incumbents and challengers this fall, say three sources familiar with the new 527. In contrast, at the start of January, the Republican National Committee had only $8.4 million in the bank compared with the $22.8 million it had on had a year earlier when Steele was elected chairman.

Dick Morris uses website and Fox News appearances for raising money to defeat Democrats

Fox News contributor and Republican pollster Dick Morris has frequently encouraged viewers to visit his website to learn how to effectively defeat Democrats and health care reform.

  • During the January 11 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Morris urged viewers to "go to DickMorris.com ... to help elect [Scott] Brown," because if "we win this fight, then there'll never be another victory for Obama." DickMorris.com also included a fundraising plea "to help us raise $300,000 for a last minute media buy to push Brown and the Republicans to victory." The fundraising link went to a contribution page for the League of American Voters.
  • In a February 26 email to DickMorris.com subscribers, Morris wrote that the League of American Voters has "raised $200,000 in the past three days" to run ads in the districts of "marginal Democrats who voted for healthcare last time."
  • 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 had paid $24,000 to a company apparently connected to him.

Hannity has long history of raising money for right-wing candidates and causes

Amidst criticism, Fox News prevented host Sean Hannity from taping his April 15 show at a Cincinnati Tea Party event that charged admission and had "all proceeds" benefitting the organization. However, Hannity has a long history of raising money for Republican interests.

  • Hannity reportedly has helped former Fox News host and current Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich raise money.
  • Hannity was also the keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner for the National Republican Congressional Committee in March.
  • Hannity helped raise money for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's (R) 2008 presidential campaign.
  • Hannity raised campaign money for Jeanine Pirro's 2006 U.S. Senate campaign in New York, pledging a "maximum" contribution to her bid and asking listeners to donate as well.

Santorum's America's Foundation -- over $1.2 million in 2010 election cycle

Santorum is chair of PAC that helps candidates and causes committed to "conservative principles." Fox News political analyst and former Sen. Rick Santorum is chairman of America's Foundation PAC, "the political action committee of former Senator Rick Santorum" that's "committed to helping candidates and causes who share Senator Santorum's commitment to conservative principles."

OpenSecrets.org found that, based on FEC filings, America's Foundation has raised $1,249,091 in the 2010 election cycle. America's Foundation has contributed $19,000 to Republican congressional candidates.*

On the February 16 edition of Fox News' On the Record, Santorum touted the prospects of Rep. Mark Kirk's (R-IL) Senate campaign and attacked his Democratic opponent. But Santorum did not note that America's Foundation has contributed to Kirk's campaign.

*An earlier version of this item said that America's Foundation had contributed $5,000 to the campaign of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA). In fact, America's Foundation reported that Specter's campaign had returned $5,000 that the PAC previously donated.

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