The Hill's Dick Morris Problem

Over the past several years, The Hill has published numerous columns by Dick Morris analyzing political groups or races in which he had a financial interest. In these cases, neither The Hill nor Morris disclosed his financial connections to readers.

The Hill's lack of disclosure on Morris include:

  • IN Senate Race. Morris wrote a February 7 column which attacked “RINO Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.)” for supporting the Law of the Sea Treaty. Morris headlined a September 2011 fundraiser for Lugar's Republican primary opponent, Richard Mourdock. The Mourdock campaign also rented Morris' email list in July 2011 for a donation solicitation, which featured an appeal from Morris.
  • 2012 GOP Presidential Candidates. Morris has received financial payments from Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich to rent out his email list during the Republican presidential primary. A November 15, 2011, Hill column was headlined, “Is Newt electable? Hell, yes!” while a October 18, 2011, column was headlined, “9-9-9 can save our country.”
  • Pennsylvania GOP. In February 2010, the Republican Federal Committee of Pennsylvania paid Morris $10,000 for speaking at its 2010 Lincoln Day Dinner. Following the payment, Morris wrote about Pennsylvania politics in The Hill on May 26, 2010, in a column attacking then-Rep. Joe Sestak (D), who was running for re-election in Pennsylvania.
  • Morris wrote columns on November 5, 2008, and November 11, 2008, touting, the website of the National Republican Trust PAC. According to FEC filings, Morris received $24,000 from the PAC between October 10 and November 19 of that year.

Morris has also repeatedly discussed candidates and organizations on Fox News without disclosing his financial connections to them. After the Associated Press questioned Morris and Fox News last December about his promotions of Republican presidential candidates, Morris went on Fox News and admitted that he's taken money from certain candidates.

The AP's David Bauder subsequently wrote about Morris and noted that “advocates for ethics in journalism tend to lean toward full disclosure of conflicts caused by relationships between politicians and on-air reporters or commentators.” Does that ethics policy apply to The Hill with Morris?

Requests for comment to The Hill were not returned.