Accuracy in Media

MSNBC, which in the past has struggled with the lack of disclosure of some of their hosts political campaign donations, may have a new problem on its hands with the discovery that many of the guests on Chris Matthews’ Hardball program have made generous contributions to his wife’s congressional campaign.

Matthews, who said he would be “transparent and fair in our coverage” when his wife announced her candidacy for the seat in Maryland’s 8th District being vacated by Rep. Chris Van Hollen last June, has barely mentioned the campaign. But he has neglected to mention that some of his guests are supporting her financially.

Using FEC reports and Hardball transcripts, The Intercept has identified 48 frequent guests of the program who have donated $79,050 as of December 31, 2015. While many of the campaign donations occurred long after they appeared on the program, others took place within days of guesting on the show.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s “Off the Sidelines” PAC donated $10,000 to Matthews on June 20, 2015. Gillibrand taped her segment on June 18 and it aired on June 22.

Former Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX) made a contribution to Matthews’ campaign one day after he appeared on Hardball to discuss a book he wrote with former GOP Rep. Tom Davis from Virginia. Frost told The Intercept that Chris Matthews never personally solicited a contribution, and that his wife has family in the 8th District.

Finally, there’s Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who endorsed Matthews on January 11, 2016. She appeared on Hardball one day after her campaign committee, “PAC for a Change,” donated $1,000 to Kathleen Matthews’ campaign.

While there is no evidence that Matthews has violated any laws with regard to the campaign contributions and Hardball appearances, his claim of transparency rings hollow, just like it has for two of his favorite politicians—Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

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