For the third time this year, CNN allowed political commentator David Urban to push for the passage of a trade agreement without disclosing that he’s being paid to lobby for that measure. CNN has repeatedly ignored questions about its failure to disclose this blatant conflict of interest.
President Donald Trump has been trying to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) since he signed the deal during November’s G-20 summit. In February, Axios reported that Republicans formed the 501(c)(4) group Trade Works for America with the specific purpose of pressuring members of Congress, especially Democrats, to support the USMCA.
On April 1, Trade Works for America retained Urban and his firm American Continental Group to lobby for the USMCA. The group has paid Urban's firm at least $90,000 so far, according to a lobbying report filed by the firm in July.
During the September 9 edition of The Lead with Jake Tapper, Urban used his CNN job to push for the passage of the USMCA, stating: “[Politico reporter] Melanie [Zanoa] makes a good point about there's this long laundry list of things to do in the Congress, right, whether to get things actually accomplished, USMCA, lots of things that -- ”
Tapper then responded: “The new trade deal?”
Urban replied: “Yeah, the trade deal, right, that moderate Democrats, [Rep.] Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania and a slew of others, 30-plus others, were elected to get things done.”
Tapper added: “Congressman Max Rose.”
Urban then continued: “‘We’re going to go to Washington. We're going to work with my counterparts across the aisle and accomplish things.’ And they have gotta go back and run. And they're going to run on nothing, zero. They have a very thin record to run on. They're at risk.”
Urban’s push for the USMCA mirrors that of the White House, which has been heavily promoting the measure.
This is the third time that Urban has used his CNN position to push for the passage of the USMCA without any disclosure that he is paid to lobby for the measure’s passage. He also did it on the July 24 edition of Anderson Cooper 360 and the April 4 edition of The Lead with Jake Tapper.
CNN again did not respond to a request for comment.