Topic

presidential elections

7 petitions

Started 3 months ago

Petition to Ellen Weintraub, Caroline C. Hunter

Investigate Sean Hannity for campaign finance violations

According to numerous media reports, President Donald Trump regularly communicates with Sean Hannity, a talk show host on Fox News who also has his own syndicated three-hour radio show. These conversations inform the content of Hannity's shows, and any messaging broadcast as a result of these coordinated communications — such as defense of the president or attacks on his enemies — amount to illegal in-kind campaign contributions to the Donald J. Trump for President Inc. Campaign Committee. Hannity's shows do not include disclosures as required by law. Furthermore, the market value for a 30-second advertisement on Fox News alone is more than $8,000, which exceeds the total donation amount permitted by law. The Trump campaign — which organized on President Trump's inauguration day — has not reported any of these in-kind contributions. Federal election laws exist to prevent this kind of coordination from happening for a reason. TV and radio show hosts and network executives cannot be considered immune to the law when they are working directly with political candidates to influence public opinion in their favor.  News networks are supposed to serve the interest of the public by dispersing reliable, unbiased information to create a more well-educated electorate. Talk shows on news networks that rely heavily on opinion for content run counter to journalistic values. This isn't illegal, although it's ethically questionable at best. But what Hannity is doing by regularly communicating with Trump makes the content of his show cross from a legally murky grey area into clearly illegal activity. We call on the Federal Election Commission to investigate the coordinated communications between Hannity and Trump, along with any other coordinated communications between the president, the president's adjutants, and executives with news gathering organizations such as Fox News, and prosecute any violations of federal campaign laws. 

Matt Koesters
18 supporters