MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews isn’t much for keeping his promises of transparency when it involves political contributions to his wife’s congressional campaign, reports the NY Post.
Last June, the commentator insisted on his show that he would be “transparent and fair in our coverage” after his wife, Kathleen, announced that she was running as a Democrat for the open seat in Maryland’s 8th District.
Since then, Kathleen Matthews, a former news anchor and Marriott exec, has received a total of $79,050 in campaign contributions from prominent former and current politicians featured on her husband’s long-running cable-news show.
“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,” her husband said on his program. “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,” added Matthews.
But Matthews, who has made glowing references to Kathleen on his show without mentioning her campaign, hasn’t uttered a word about the contributions his 62-year-old wife has received from his TV guests.
The revelation is another black eye for NBC, which bounced Brian Williams as anchor of the network news last year and dispatched him to MSNBC after he fabricated details of stories he covered.
The Intercept, which broke the story of the “Hardball” campaign connection Friday, compiled a laundry list of questionable donations. It showed some political heavyweights making contributions just before or after their appearances on the show.
The political action committee for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) gave $10,000 to Kathleen’s campaign on June 20, 2015 — two days before Gillibrand appeared on “Hardball.” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) contributed $1,000 on Jan. 11, 2016, one day before she was interviewed on the program. Chris Matthews’ guests, their spouses or their PACs donated $79,050 as of Dec. 31 — about 5 percent of the $1.5 million Kathleen had raised as of then. At least 11 of the donations came from guests after they appeared on Matthews’ show.
Paul Pelosi, husband of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), put $1,000 into Kathleen’s coffers. Jackie Clegg-Dodd, wife of Chris Dodd, a former Connecticut senator and president of the Motion Picture Association of America, gave $500. Dick Blum, husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), maxed out with a $2,700 donation.
MSNBC issued a statement saying it “does not book guests on the basis of political contributions. That would violate not only our ethical obligation as journalists, but also violate the standards of NBC News.” Chris Matthews did not return calls for comment.
“Working women know it is possible to have their own career and not depend on their spouse for success,” said Kathleen Matthews’ campaign manager, Ethan Susseles.