Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.
Earlier this year, the Kern County Republican Central Committee in California paid Fox News host Jeanine Pirro $25,000 to keynote a fundraiser that also featured House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). The very next day, McCarthy, whose district includes most of the county, appeared on Pirro’s show and thanked her for giving “a great speech.”
Pirro is a Republican who hosts the weekend show Justice with Judge Jeanine. She appeared at a campaign rally with President Donald Trump last month. Fox News subsequently claimed that it “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” which is a blatant lie.
Fox News personalities regularly appear at events for candidates and political parties and sometimes get paid to do them. Fox News personalities Lou Dobbs, Sebastian Gorka, Greg Gutfeld, and Pete Hegseth have received money to headline fundraising events. Media Matters recently documented more than $200,000 in speaking fees that Pirro has received from 13 Republican organizations in the past two years.
The help isn’t always just contained to the event. As Media Matters documented last week, the Livingston County Republican Committee in Michigan paid Hegseth to keynote a fundraiser with then-Senate candidate John James. Hegseth then repeatedly interviewed James on his Fox & Friends Weekend program (and didn’t disclose the payment from the committee).
Pirro has similarly used her Fox News program to push a Republican cause that was related to her speaking fee.
On March 16, the Kern County GOP hosted a fundraising dinner featuring Pirro. According to Federal Election Commission records, the party paid Pirro a total of $25,000 for speaking at the event (the party sent its payment to Fox News’ New York City headquarters). Kevin McCarthy, whose 23rd Congressional District” covers most of Kern,” also spoke at the event.
Pirro also tweeted a picture of herself with McCarthy at the fundraiser:
— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) March 17, 2018
On the following day, March 17, Pirro hosted McCarthy and told him: “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, and especially in Kern County where I saw you last night. Great Republican county.” McCarthy replied: “Well, you gave a great speech.” At the conclusion of the interview, McCarthy said: “Judge, thank you so much for having me and thanks for coming to California. You are always welcome to come back.” Pirro did not mention the event payment during the interview.
Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.
Header image by Melissa Joskow / Media Matters