On two Fox News shows in October, Fox News 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 Huckabee's political action committee, which financially supports Republican candidates and also pays Huckabee's daughter's salary. Subsequently, Huck PAC apparently emailed petition signers -- who were required to provide an email address in order to sign the “balancecutsave” petition -- “newsletters” urging political action on behalf of Republican-backed candidates and soliciting donations for campaigns against Democrats who voted for health care reform.
UPDATE II: Balancecutsave.com petition asked for donations to campaigns against Democrats
Huck PAC sending petition signers emails asking them to help remove Democratic health care proponents from office. A Media Matters for America employee who signed Huckabee's petition at balancecutsave.com received an email November 9 from Huck PAC asking people to donate to campaigns against Democrats who voted for health care reform. The email said: “I urge you to make a donation of $25 or more towards our efforts to vote these Democrats out of office.”
UPDATE: Balancecutsave.com petition signers asked to make calls for GOP-backed candidates
Huck PAC sent petition signers emails asking them to phone bank for Republicans. The employee also received an email November 1 from Huck PAC asking people to participate in a phone bank for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and congressional candidates David Harmer and Doug Hoffman. The email said that "[w]e need to help get each of these fine men elected" and asks recipients to “take a moment now to make phone calls to voters”:
Huckabee previously urged Fox News viewers to visit balancecutsave.com
Huckabee told viewers, “You can go to balancecutsave.com -- that's balancecutsave.com.” On the October 4 edition of 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.”
Huckabee pushed 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.”
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 (FEC) disclosure form lists Sarah Huckabee as an employee. A July 2009 FEC 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.
Other Fox News figures have previously helped Republican PACs raise money
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, Fox News contributor 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 FEC, Media Matters 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.