Politics

Hillary Donors Helping Chris Matthews’ Wife Into Congress

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has been accused by Bernie Sanders supporters of being blatantly one-sided in favor of Hillary and against Bernie Sanders, to the point that thousands of progressives have signed a petition calling for MSNBC to suspend the host of “Hardball” “because of his constant shilling for Hillary Clinton.” The magazine Esquire sharply criticized Matthews’ recent interview with Clinton as “ahistorical and out of bounds” for his attacks on Sanders. Now, research by The Daily Caller reveals that Hillary’s biggest donors are backing Matthews’ wife — Kathleen Matthews — in her congressional race in Maryland, even though many of them don’t even live in the same state, much less the same district, that Matthews is seeking to represent.

Kathleen Matthews, who worked closely with the Clinton Foundation for four years during her time at Marriott (which she just recently left to enter the congressional race), has blown away her primary opponents in terms of fundraising. By the end of 2015, Matthews had raised $1,569,092, FEC records show. Only one of her eight primary opponents — state Sen. Jamie Raskin — had raised more than $1 million by year’s end.

Many of Matthews’ biggest donors have close ties to either the Clinton foundation or the Clintons themselves. As noted by Bloomberg two years ago, 12 families have donated to every single Clinton campaign and charity. Of the 12 families, the two families that have donated the most to the Clintons are both funding Matthews’ campaign. Four families from Bloomberg’s list of biggest Clinton donors have given to the Matthews’ campaign. None of the four live in Maryland, where Matthews is actually running.

Elaine and Gerald Schuster together have given to every Clinton campaign or charity cause ever. Of the 12 families that have funded every Clinton venture ever, the Schusters’ rank second in amount of money given to the Clintons. This past May, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the two hosted a fundraiser for Hillary at their home. Elaine — who previously served on the board of the Clinton Foundation–has donated the maximum legal amount to Matthews’ campaign, FEC records show. Elaine’s granddaughter, Alexandra, works as a digital strategist for Hillary’s presidential campaign and made a donation to Matthews’ campaign in early November. Neither Elaine nor Alexandra Schuster live in Maryland.

Only one family on Bloomberg’s list has given more to the Clintons than the Schuster family: the Bagley family, headed by Elizabeth and the late Smith Bagley. According to Bloomberg, the Bagleys have given more than $5 million to the Clintons over the years. Two of the Bagley children — Conor and Vaughan — each donated $500 to Matthews’ campaign. Conor Bagley’s donation is especially remarkable considering his listed occupation on Matthews’ FEC filings is “student.” Like the Schusters, neither Bagley lives in Maryland.

Another family from the Bloomberg 12 to have donated to Matthews is the Barnes family, headed by Benjamin and Melanie. Benjamin is the former lieutenant governor of Texas and served on the National Finance Council for Clinton’s Ready for Hillary PAC. He has given the maximum legal amount to Matthews’ campaign. Barnes does not live in Maryland.

Yet another family from the Bloomberg list backing Matthews is the Williams family, headed by Constance and Sankey Williams. Like Benjamin Barnes, Constance served on the National Finance Council for Ready for Hillary. To date, she’s given $2,000 to Matthews’ campaign — a little over half the legal maximum. Like the other Hillary mega-donors backing Matthews, Constance Williams is not a Maryland resident.

Other Hillary mega-donors support Matthews as well. California philanthropist Laure Woods, who cut a “six-figure” check to a Hillary super PAC according to Politico, donated the maximum legal amount to Matthews’ campaign late last December. Several others of Matthews’ biggest donations have come from out-of-state Clinton donors.

Matthews’ Clinton ties go beyond the donors funding both her and Hillary. According to Marriott’s website, Kathleen Matthews “led a four-year initiative with the Clinton Foundation to open a Marriott hotel in Haiti.” The Clintons and Marriott have both come under scrutiny over the project after FOIA requests revealed that a Clinton Foundation donor was lobbying the State department in favor of the hotel while Hillary was still serving as secretary of state.

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According to the Clinton Foundation website, Matthews attended the Clinton Foundation’s annual meeting in September 2014, where she participated in a panel on “LGBT Rights Around The World.” Both Bill and Hillary attended the conference and participated in panels themselves. Matthews’ personal blog contains several references to Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. In one post from February 2015, Matthews goes out of her way to offer her “special thanks” to Bill Clinton for his help with her work in Haiti. Kathleen Matthews has also given thousands to Hillary’s presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Despite Kathleen Matthews’ close ties with the Clintons, their foundation and their donors, TheDC has not found any instance where Chris Matthews publicly disclosed what some voters might see as a conflict-of-interest. Neither MSNBC nor the Matthews campaign responded to TheDC’s request for comment by press time.

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