MSNBC host Chris Matthews has invited guests to appear on his “Hardball” show that have donated a total of nearly $80,000 to his wife’s congressional bid.
FEC records show that as of December 31, 2015, individuals who have appeared on “Hardball,” their spouses or their political action committees have donated $79,050 to Kathleen Matthews’ campaign for Congress in Maryland’s eighth district, The Intercept reports.
Kathleen’s run for Congress has raised many concerns about potential conflicts of interest and a MoveOn.org petition asking for Chris Matthews to resign has over 16,000 signatures. (RELATED: Ten Thousand Demand Chris Matthews’ Suspension, MSNBC Silent)
The concern then was also over donors, many of Hillary Clinton’s top donors have given to Matthews raising questions about her husband’s ability to cover the presidential race favorably. (RELATED: Hillary Donors Helping Chris Matthews’ Wife Into Congress)
The race Matthews is running in is poised to be one of the costliest ones in the nation, and she has received help from many top political figures and donors. Kathleen got $10,000 from Sen. [crscore]Kirsten Gillibrand[/crscore]’s Off the Sidelines PAC. This donation came on June 20, two days later Gillibrand appeared on “Hardball.”
This isn’t the only donation with peculiar timing.
Former U.S Congressman Martin Frost, who has donated a total of $1,250 to Kathleen Matthews, gave his first donation on August 1. He then appeared on “Hardball” the next day to promote a book he wrote. Frost told The Intercept in an email, “Chris did not personally solicit my donation and we had no discussion of Kathleen’s race.”
Sen. [crscore]Barbara Boxer[/crscore] endorsed Kathleen Matthews on January 11 and the next day her campaign committee, PAC for a Change, gave $1,000 towards Kathleen’s effort to join Congress. On January 12, Boxer appeared on MSNBC with Chris Matthews.
When it was announced Kathleen would run for office, Chris said that he would make sure his coverage remained fair. He said: “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. 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.”
MSNBC has not disclosed any of these donations and did not respond to a request for comment from The Intercept.
Before Kathleen announced she would be running for Congress, MSNBC said it would take measures to assure fair coverage that “would include fully disclosing Chris’s relationship to Kathleen if her candidacy is mentioned either by him or a guest.”
One of the donors to Matthews, political consultant Steve McMahon who gave the maximum donation of 2,700, accused The Intercept of sexism for implying a quid-pro-quo regarding donations. He said, “it is inherently sexist for anyone to suggest that Kathleen Matthews isn’t doing this on her own.” (RELATED: Kathleen Matthews’ Maryland Congressional Bid Mirrors Hillary’s Campaign)