Fox News host Pete Hegseth donated to candidate who killed someone in drunk driving crash

Hegseth's contribution came after the New Jersey candidate and gym owner was recently arrested for driving intoxicated again

Ian Smith is a Republican congressional candidate in New Jersey who previously killed someone while driving drunk and was recently arrested again for driving while intoxicated. Shortly after Smith’s latest arrest, Fox News host Pete Hegseth donated $1,000 to his campaign. 

Smith is the co-owner of Atilis Gym in New Jersey. He became a frequent guest on Fox News because his gym defied the state’s protective measures against COVID-19. Hegseth has interviewed Smith and visited his gym, where he promoted his efforts. For instance, Hegseth concluded one segment by claiming that Smith’s stance is “all about freedom. It’s all about choice.” 

As wrote, “Smith was a 20-year-old Stockton University student in 2007 when he drank 10 to 12 beers and in the morning ran a stop sign, killing Kevin Ade, 19, of Galloway Township, according to 6ABC reports at the time. He pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, court records show.” 

On March 27, Smith was again arrested for drunk driving. During the stop, Smith told police: “You know I’m a congressional candidate for this district, right?” He later claimed that he refused a Breathalyzer test because he distrusts the government. 

A few weeks after news of Smith’s arrest became public, Hegseth donated $1,000 to his campaign on April 28, according to a recently filed report with the Federal Election Commission. Smith’s Republican primary is on June 7. 

Hegseth’s donation follows other contributions to Republicans by his fellow hosts. In September, Tucker Carlson donated $250 to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) campaign. The Hill reported that “a source familiar with the donation told The Hill the contribution is connected to a bid Carlson placed on a rifle Greene was auctioning off as a campaign fundraiser last year.” Brian Kilmeade also donated roughly $600 to the Trump campaign to buy Christmas ornaments. 

The Washington Post reported in February that “television news hosts are generally prohibited, or at least strongly discouraged, from donating to political campaigns — though there’s a long history of on-air hosts and journalists making such contributions. Asked on Tuesday night whether Fox News hosts are permitted to make campaign contributions, network representatives did not respond.” 

Hegseth is a two-way street when it comes to money and Republicans. He has received over $50,000 from seven Republican groups to headline fundraisers while working at the network.