Obama donor and pro-gun media manager faces conflict of interest accusations

Patrick Howley | Political Reporter

Prominent Democratic donor Leo Hindery is facing conflict of interest accusations from shareholders of an apolitical television network that he is trying to merge with one of his own pro-gun media properties, according to Buzzfeed.

Hindery, who has donated to the campaigns of Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bob Menendez, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand and other pro-gun control Democrats, is a managing partner of InterMedia Partners LP. That company owns the Sportsman Channel, a hunting and fishing-themed network that runs advertisements, and thus gains revenue, from the National Rifle Association, while reportedly broadcasting a pro-gun viewpoint and featuring interviews with NRA executives.

Hindery is now attempting to merge his Sportsman Channel with the Outdoor Channel, an non-political hunting and fishing-themed network that does not weigh in on the gun control debate.

Outdoor Channel shareholder Andrew Franklin told Buzzfeed that he and other shareholders are now trying to block the merger, for fear of the Outdoor Channel becoming a more political entity, like the Sportsman Channel.

“This is an inherent conflict between his political and business relationships,” Franklin told Buzzfeed, referring to Hindery.

“There’s a really high level of inconsistency with Hindery’s political views,” Franklin said. “How can you take revenue from the NRA and gun sponsors and contribute aggressively to Cuomo and Edwards, who are crusading against the organizations that pay him?”

The controversy surrounding Hindery brings to light yet another example of Democratic politicians accepting campaign contributions from interests opposed to their own stated political beliefs. President Barack Obama, whose Victory Fund accepted $25,000 from Hindery in the 2012 election cycle, has supported sweeping new gun-control regulations since the Newtown school shooting tragedy in December.

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