It was not just unethical and immoral for Rupert Murdoch to share confidential Biden campaign information with Jared Kushner but illegal, according to Media Matters' complaint to the FEC.
March 4, 2023

One of the most shocking (though not terribly surprising) revelations in Dominion's $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News was Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s apparent admission that he gave Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, “confidential information about Biden’s ads, along with debate strategy” before then-candidate Joe Biden’s campaign ads were aired on Fox News. The Biden campaign aired ran a slew of ads on Fox News during the 2020 presidential campaign.

If ever you needed proof that Fox acts as a Republican, anti-Democratic political operative this, alone, should do it. In that respect, it’s even more damning than the network's deliberate falsehoods about the 2020 election which were more about protecting its brand than helping a Republican get elected.

As it turns out, it’s illegal for a corporation to contribute to a candidate or political campaign and it’s illegal for either to accept a corporate donation. Media Matters makes a good argument that that’s exactly what happened when Fox Corp. Chairman Murdoch gave a helping hand to the Trump campaign.

From the complaint, which also names Trump's Make America Great Again PAC and its treasurer as respondents (citations excluded):

The Act prohibits any candidate, candidate’s political committee, or any person from knowingly accepting or receiving a contribution from a corporation. Similarly, a corporation is prohibited from making a contribution. A contribution includes any direct or indirect “gift of money, or any services, or anything of value,” including an in-kind service provided without compensation, “made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office.” The Commission has treated material non-public information such as information about advertising, messaging, and other campaign strategy as a thing of value.

Here, it appears that Murdoch and Fox Corporation provided the Committee with material non-public information about the Committee’s opponent’s advertisements. Specifically, Murdoch allegedly conveyed the actual advertisements that the Biden campaign paid Fox Corporation to air on its television outlets to the Committee before the advertisements aired. The Biden advertisements were material non-public information and, therefore, were of value to the Committee. As such, Fox Corporation, through Murdoch, appears to have made an impermissible corporate contribution to the Committee and the Committee also violated the Act by accepting the corporate contribution.

Media Matters said Fox’s actions are not only an egregious violation of FEC law and regulations “but also a nefarious attempt by people in power to operate a press entity as a political organization, in blatant disregard of the rules that govern our elections and democracy.” Media Matters concludes, “As such, we respectfully request that the Commission immediately investigate these violations, fine Respondents the maximum amount permitted by law, and take appropriate remedial action.”

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