Murdoch-backed Fox News corporate PAC donates to Sen. Joe Manchin's campaign

The Murdoch-backed donation comes as Manchin is under increasing siege by a variety of right-wing groups

Published July 15, 2021 9:19PM (EDT)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A corporate political action committee for the parent company of Fox News, funded partially by the Murdoch family, donated to the 2024 re-election campaign of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, campaign filings show.

A staunch moderate, Manchin's vote is pivotal in the evenly-divided chamber — and the West Virginia senator has for much of the year used his position to stymie legislation on a number of liberal priorities, instead committing himself to a bipartisan approach criticized roundly within Democratic circles in Washington. In particular, progressives have been hammering Manchin over his support for the filibuster, a major procedural hurdle standing in the way of the legislative agenda favored by President Joe Biden and the vast majority of a currently Democratic-controlled Congress.

The $1,500 donation on June 27 appears to be the first to Manchin from the Fox Corp. PAC, which according to the watchdog organization Open Secrets is funded largely by right-wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his son, Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch, as well as other executives at the Fox Corporation. Manchin raised more than $1.4 million during the second quarter of this year, the filings show.

Manchin also received donations from a number of large corporations, including Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, T-Mobile, At&T/Warner Media, Honeywell and FedEx.

The Murdoch-backed donation comes as Manchin is under increasing siege by a variety of right-wing groups, including a high-profile pressure campaign by the Koch network's Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation's advocacy arm, Heritage Action. 

It's a battle that the interest groups appear top be winning: Manchin, a former supporter of filibuster reform and co-sponsor of voting-rights legislation, has come out against both Senate Democrats' attempts to kill the filibuster and another sweeping voter-rights bill, called the For the People Act, intended to counter a spate of extremely restrictive state-level election laws being enacted by Republicans across the country. 

Manchin even penned a biting critique of the measure in the Charleston Gazette-Mail last month, which echoed talking points from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — just months after the right-leaning organization resumed its own donations to the West Virginia Democrat.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., even went so far as to suggest during an appearance on MSNBC last month that Manchin's opposition to the For the People Act, which polls extremely highly among his constituents, may really concern measures aimed at cracking down on lobbyists and dark money.  

"This is probably just as much a part of Joe Manchin's calculus than anything else," Ocasio-Cortez said. "You look at the Koch brothers and you look at organizations like the Heritage Foundation and conservative lobby groups that are doing a victory lap ... over the fact that Manchin refuses to change on the filibuster. And I think that these two things are very closely intertwined."

By Brett Bachman

Brett Bachman was the Nights/Weekend Editor at Salon.

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2024 Election Campaign Finance Fec Fox News Joe Manchin Koch Brothers Politics Reporting Right Wing