Fox Corp. PAC, a political action committee for Fox News parent Fox Corporation, has donated to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-West Virginia) re-election campaign, according to a recent filing uncovered by CNBC.
The PAC, according to OpenSecrets, is funded largely by Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News, and other Fox Corporation and Fox News executives such as Murdoch’s son. The PAC in June gave $1,500 to Manchin, the conservative Democrat who has been under fire by progressives for his ties to right-wing interest groups.
According to CNBC, the donation was the PAC’s first to Manchin, which would indicate that conservative groups are taking more interest in the lawmaker. Indeed, dark money groups with ties to other right-wing figures like the Kochs have launched pressure campaigns to influence the West Virginia senator as he continues to uphold conservative policy in his role.
Koch advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, for instance, has encouraged followers to cheer Senator Manchin for standing against key Democratic proposals like voting rights and election finance transparency. Meanwhile, far right figures like former president Donald Trump have heaped praise on Manchin for standing up for the filibuster, which acts as the single largest roadblock to the Democrats’ agenda.
Manchin’s motivations are unclear, but Republicans have made their goals extremely transparent: to obstruct Democrats in Washington while reaping chaos and spreading fascism across the country. To that end, Manchin’s opposition to filibuster abolition strengthens the GOP.
But Manchin may not be so clear-minded. He continually insists upon pursuing an obsolete notion of bipartisanship with Republicans who have, in no uncertain terms, stated that they’re uninterested in partnering with Democrats.
The most recent iteration of Manchin’s bipartisan obsession came as the lawmaker has again asserted that he wants to water down the Democrats’ landmark voting rights and campaign transparency bill, the For the People Act or S. 1.
Texas Democrats, who recently fled the state to block GOP-led voter suppression efforts, travelled to Washington to plead with Congress to pass bills that protect voting rights in the country. They met with Manchin, who on Thursday said that, despite his meeting with the Texas lawmakers, he still wants to water down S. 1 to only address voting procedures and voting rights. Why? Because, as he told CNN, he somehow thinks Republicans would support such legislation, even though they are leading the charge across the U.S. to suppress voters so that they never lose an election again.
In recent months, Manchin has proposed his own changes to the For the People Act. His changes essentially gut some of the most important parts of the bill — most notably, provisions of the bill that would overhaul election finance to reduce corruption.
S. 1 proposes creating new, strict laws regarding campaign finance disclosures. Experts have said it would greatly reduce the influence of dark money and corporations on elections by exposing corporate interests and their ties to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Manchin himself has been accused of having such ties, with praise from right-wing pressure campaigns and, as was exposed in recent bombshell reports, ties to Exxon lobbyists. A recently leaked call between Manchin and Wall Street donors, too, painted a damning picture of a give-and-take relationship between large financial interests and politicians that the lawmaker seems to champion. In other words, if the filibuster is abolished and these financial ties are severed or put under more scrutiny, Manchin’s wallet may suffer.