GOP Groups Have Paid Corrupt Fox Host Over $50K
Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.
Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Pete Hegseth has received over $50,000 from seven Republican groups to headline fundraisers in recent years.
Hegseth has worked at Fox News since 2014 and became a permanent Fox & Friends Weekend co-host in 2017. Hegseth, a Republican who has said he doesn’t consider himself a journalist, has repeatedly interviewed President Donald Trump and pushed pro-Trump propaganda on the network.
Fox News has allowed on-air personalities like Hegseth, Lou Dobbs, Greg Gutfeld, and Sebastian Gorka to headline events for Republican groups (and sometimes get paid for the work). Weekend host Jeanine Pirro has been perhaps the network’s most prolific fundraiser, taking in more than $200,000 in payments from GOP organizations since Trump’s election.
Similarly, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade was recently set to headline a February fundraiser for the Williamson County Republican Party in Tennessee just months after he claimed he had “no interest in giving to any campaign.” Shortly after Media Matters reported on the event, the Williamson GOP announced that “Kilmeade will not be speaking at Reagan Day due to scheduling conflicts” and announced a “victory party” instead. Williamson GOP officials did not respond to requests for comment about the cancelation.
Hegseth is set to further fundraise in 2019: He’s the headliner for an April fundraiser for the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee in Connecticut. The committee didn’t respond to a request for comment about whether Hegseth is getting paid; Fox News also didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Fox News hosts have not only brazenly violated basic media ethics by taking payments from political parties; they have also used their shows to promote politicians who appeared with them at the fundraisers.
Hegseth received roughly $10,000 from Republicans in Michigan to speak at a fundraising event with then-Senate candidate John James; Hegseth then repeatedly interviewed James and promoted his candidacy on Fox News. And Pirro received $25,000 to keynote a fundraiser that also featured House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); the very next day, Pirro interviewed McCarthy on her program, where he thanked her for giving “a great speech.”
Here are seven events that Hegseth has done since 2017 (both before and after he became a permanent Fox & Friends Weekend co-host), along with the amount of money that Premiere Speakers Bureau, which represents Hegseth, received in fees near the time of the event. The data was obtained through a search of available campaign finance reports posted on state databases.
- The Livingston County Republican Committee in Michigan paid Premiere $10,239.55 for Hegseth to speak at its May 24 event.
- The Benton County Republican Central Committee in Washington paid Premiere $8,500 for Hegseth to speak at its May 17 event.
- The Alabama Republican Executive Committee paid Premiere $10,600 for Hegseth to speak at its February 23 event.
- The Montgomery County Republican Women’s PAC paid Premiere $6,500 for Hegseth to speak at its November 2, 2017 event.
- The Larimer County Republican Party in Colorado paid Premiere $5,000 for Hegseth to speak at its July 29, 2017, event.
- The Snohomish County Republican Central Committee in Washington paid Premiere $5,547.60 for Hegseth to speak at its April 21, 2017, event.
- The Republican Party of Brazos County in Texas paid Premiere $5,000 for Hegseth to speak at its January 26, 2017, event.
Header image by Melissa Joskow / Media Matters