Fox News Chief Political Correspondent Fundraising For A GOP And Koch-Linked Group

Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron will speak at a fundraiser benefiting a group run by former Republican Party officials and linked to controversial industrialists Charles and David Koch.

Cameron is a speaker at The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy's (JBC) annual Libertas Dinner on July 23. The event will also feature former Gov. Steve Merrill (R-NH) and honor Joe McQuaid, publisher of the Union Leader and “GOP Kingmaker in New Hampshire.” Sponsorship levels run from $100 to $10,000.  

In an email to Media Matters, JBC president Charles M. Arlinghaus said that Cameron isn't being paid for his appearance and was asked to speak because of Cameron's connections to him and McQuaid.

“I wanted Carl partly because I've known Carl for more than 20 years and love him. He's a local guy and one of the nicest, most decent people I've interacted with in a profession that doesn't always include a lot of people you can say that about so I wanted to jump at an opportunity to be on a podium with him,” Arlinghaus wrote.

“Second, he's perfect for Joe. The primary purpose of the event is to honor Joe and because Carl has known Joe for so long and in such an interesting way (different types of journalism, organizations that have had complementary and sometimes rival purposes) I think he sets off Joe perfectly. I think Carl talking about Joe will be the combination of history, nostalgia, and a sort of backstage look at the radio/TV/newspaper relationship that turns the event from a boring cattle call into a fun evening.”

Cameron joined Fox News in 1996 and serves as its chief political correspondent. His duties include reporting on political campaigns, including from New Hampshire. He was previously the political director for New Hampshire's WMUR-TV.

JBC describes itself as a non-partisan organization dedicated to “individual freedom and responsibility, limited and accountable government, and an appreciation of the role of the free enterprise system.” The group was co-founded by Emily Mead, who worked as a policy adviser for President George H.W. Bush. Its board is chaired by former Republican congressional candidate Richard Ashooh, and its directors include former NH Senate President Tom Eaton (R), former New Hampshire Republican State Committee executive director Anna Barbara Hantz, Republican consultant James Sununu, and former Republican NH Gov. John H. Sununu. Arlinghaus previously worked for the New Hampshire Republican Party and Republican National Committee.  

The group's website features conservative policy prescriptions carrying headlines such as “Minimum Wage Hike Will Hurt Entry Level Workers Most”“Obamacare's problems are more than just a website”; and “Medicaid Expansion is Bad Medicine for New Hampshire.” 

JBC is linked to the Kochs through the Charles Koch Institute, which lists the New Hampshire group as a “partner organization” for its summer fellow program.  

The group's funding has also been a source of controversy due to its connection to the Koch brothers, as noted by Granite State Progress and the Center for Media and Democracy. The Nashua Telegraph noted (subscription required) in December that progressive groups had found that JBC was funded by “the Donors Capital Fund with nearly $500,000 in grants since 2009 that at times made up 56 percent of Josiah Bartlett's financing. The Koch Brothers have financially supported the Donors Capital Fund.” The Donors Capital Fund, along with its affiliated group Donors Trust, acts as a “dark-money ATM” for conservatives groups from wealthy individuals like the Kochs.

The Center has denied receiving financial support from the Koch brothers. Telegraph reported that “Arlinghaus said he was unaware of where the Donors Capital Fund got its support but likened it to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. 'If the Koch Brothers did support it, we wouldn't know that and we wouldn't care ... Our donors by and large are conservatives philosophically. That may come as a great shock to Granite State Progress but it's nothing we've hidden or should be a surprise to anyone who's paid attention.”

Media Matters documented how 15 Fox News hosts and contributors have recently campaigned with two political organizations (Americans for Prosperity and Americans for Prosperity Foundation) created and heavily funded by the Kochs.

Fox News and Carl Cameron did not return requests for comment.