When it rains it pours and with MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews now at the center of yet another potential scandal, NBC finds itself in the middle of a deluge.
The “Hardball” host vowed to offer his wife, Kathleen, “whatever help I can” when she announced her run for Congress in June and the Democratic candidate has since received a total of $79,050 in contributions from guests who have appeared on the show, according to The Intercept.
And Matthews has not lived up to the prerequisite transparency disclaimer he laid down.
“As a journalist, I also know how important it is to respect certain boundaries on my support for her both in my public role and here on MSNBC,” he said then. “And while most of you know that our show doesn’t typically cover congressional races, I will continue to fully disclose my relationship with her as part of MSNBC’s commitment to being transparent and fair in our coverage.”
His wife, a former news anchor and Marriott hotel executive, is running to replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen in Maryland’s 8th District, and while Matthews doesn’t discuss the race on air very often, a number of his guests contribute generously to her campaign.
The Intercept reported:
Using Federal Election Commission data and “Hardball” transcripts, The Intercept has identified 48 frequent guests of Matthews’s program who have made donations to the Kathleen Matthews for Congress campaign. These individuals, their spouses, or their political action committees donated $79,050 as of December 31, 2015 — about 5 percent of the $1.5 million Matthews had raised as of that time.
The donations do not appear to violate FEC guidelines, according to campaign finance experts, but The Intercept noted that the FCC “prohibits program hosts from receiving payments in exchange for putting individuals on the air” — in Matthews case, his wife is receiving the payments, not him.
The donors cover the whole spectrum of politics, as The Intercept reported:
Donors include current Democratic members of Congress like John Larson (who gave $2,000), Claire McCaskill ($1,000), and Ed Markey ($2,000), whom Matthews personally endorsed for the Senate back in 2013. They include ex-legislators like former Reps. Martin Frost ($1,250) and Susan Molinari ($1,000) and former Sens. Tom Daschle ($2,500 from him and his wife), John Breaux ($1,000), William Cohen ($1,600 from him and his firm, the Cohen Group), Kent Conrad ($250), and Evan Bayh ($2,000), all of whom are now corporate lobbyists.
They include veterans of the Obama, Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, and Nixon White Houses. They include members of the media, corporate lawyers, lobbyists, advocacy organization leaders, consultants, campaign managers, and one current cabinet official. The list defines a bipartisan coterie of insiders and backslappers, many of whom have a reserved spot in the Hardball rolodex.
In some cases, the timing is highly questionable. On June 20, 2015, just two days before Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., appeared on “Hardball,” her political action committee donated $10,000 to Kathleen Matthews campaign.
On Jan. 11, 2016, one day before she was featured on the show, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., contributed $1,000.
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