The Politico has reported that the Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint accusing Premiere Radio Network syndicated radio host Sean Hannity of illegally raising cash for a Republican congressional candidate. The commission concluded Hannity was acting as a member of the media and serving a “legitimate press function.” Hannity came under fire when he e-mailed 43,000 listeners asking them to donate to his longtime friend John Gomez. New York Democratic Party official Jay Jacobs filed the complaint in June, saying that the fundraising e-mail, which was distributed to a list maintained by Premiere Radio, should be considered a contribution to Gomez’s campaign.
The FEC voted 3-to-2 in favor of a recommendation finding that Hannity’s fundraising e-mail qualified for a “media exemption” which allows newspapers, web sites and talk hosts to endorse candidates.
Ellen Weintraub, one of the two Democrats who voted against dismissing the case, told Politico she “thought that Hannity’s e-mail did not qualify for the media exemption. “A newspaper can run an editorial endorsing a candidate, but if it then goes out and places a billboard, that’s a different story-that’s not what it normally does.”