Chris Matthews’s “Hardball” Guests Have Given $79,050 to His Wife Kathleen’s Congressional Campaign
By DAVID DAYEN
One day last June, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews opened his show with some news: His wife, Kathleen Matthews, a former local news anchor and Marriott hotel executive, had announced a run for Congress, seeking to replace Chris Van Hollen in Maryland’s 8th District. Matthews enthusiastically endorsed his wife’s candidacy, and vowed to “offer Kathleen whatever help I can.”
The longtime host of Hardball added: “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. 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.”
In the ensuing months, Kathleen’s name has rarely come up on Hardball. But many of the guests on the show have become generous donors to her campaign. And the transparency Matthews promised has not extended to mentioning that to his audience.
Using Federal Election Commission data and Hardball transcripts, The Intercept has identified 48 frequent guests of Matthews’s program who have made donations to the Kathleen Matthews for Congress campaign. These individuals, their spouses, or their political action committees donated $79,050 as of December 31, 2015 — about 5 percent of the $1.5 million Matthews had raised as of that time.
Some of the guests made the donations after they were on the show — in some cases, long after. But in at least 11 of these cases, the Hardball guests appeared on the program after Kathleen Matthews announced her candidacy, and without any disclosure of the donations. And in at least three of those cases, the donations came within days of the MSNBC appearance.