Five Facts about Tucker Carlson, FOX Host and Daily Caller Founder

Tucker Carlson, the controversial host of the 8 p.m. slot on FOX News, has lost more than 30 advertisers in the past three months, according to Media Matters for America. This list includes the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca. That corporation, the maker of the heartburn drug Nexium, dumped him last week after the progressive media watchdog unearthed radio archives capturing some of Tucker Carlson’s vulgar comments about women.

Also last week, more than 150 people attended a “Drop FOX” rally at the New York headquarters of NewsCorp, with many calling for Tucker Carlson to be fired from his job at FOX, which reportedly pays him more than $8 million per year. Carlson, the stepson of the heir to the Swanson TV dinner fortune, also has a 2017 book deal worth up to $10 million with publisher Simon & Shuster.

Newsweek reported that in the first half of last year Tucker Carlson Tonight took in nearly $100 million in ad revenue for FOX, but the full effect of the advertiser boycott has not been publicly tallied.

He is facing ongoing calls for his remaining advertisers to boycott his show, with activists targeting his eight main sponsors. These firms include StarKist Tuna, which pleaded guilty to criminal price-fixing last October and faces a fine of up to $100 million, and Jenny Craig, which dumped Laura Ingraham’s FOX show last year. It also includes ads for My Pillow, whose founder Mike Lindell claimed that Donald Trump “was chosen by God” to run for President, so his company is unmoved.

Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson has refused to apologize for his offensive quotes, which also include many anti-immigrant and white supremacist comments.

Here are five more facts people should know about him.

1.  Tucker Carlson Has a Pattern of Unapologetic Misogyny.  As Harper’s Bazaar recapped, Media Matters captured Tucker Carlson calling women “’c*nty’ and ‘whores’ and ‘extremely primitive,'” but “[t]he part that should really jump out for listeners is when Carlson defends child rape.” He also made sexually degrading claims about Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton. And, just this past week, Joan Walsh wrote about how Tucker Carlson called her the c-word, too, and made disparaging suggestions about her sex life, in one of his office tirades–and then denied he did so. That was less than ten years ago.

Meanwhile, for nearly a decade Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller operation has routinely published content that objectifies women, as Erik Wemple reported for the Washington Post. Wemple also detailed how one of the Daily Caller’s writers, Chuck Ross, had a long paper trail of sexist and racist writings, which Ross tried to distance himself from. But Carlson did not; he refused to answer whether he knew of Ross’ past when he was managing the Daily Caller.

Additionally, for years the Daily Caller has relied on the Koch-aligned Independent Women’s Forum to give a female face to the war-on-woman agenda, while using swimsuit models as clickbait to help drive traffic on the website.

2.   Tucker Carlson’s Outlet Was Secretly Funded by the Trump Presidential Campaign. As this author discovered during an investigation of the Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson’s outlet was secretly getting sponsorship payments from the Trump campaign during the 2016 election season. But Tucker Carlson did not ever disclose to FOX viewers how he benefited from selling the Daily Caller mailing list to the campaign, even as he landed prime interviews on FOX with candidate Trump and as the Daily Caller attacked Hillary Clinton relentlessly.

3. Tucker Carlson’s “Charity” Has Provided Most of the Stories for His For-Profit.    The results of that investigation were broken by Callum Borchers in the  Washington Post: “Charity doubles as a profit stream at the Daily Caller News Foundation.” That part of the  investigation documented how Tucker Carlson’s tax-free charity, the Daily Caller News Foundation, provided most of the political or policy stories for his for-profit Daily Caller.

As the Post noted: “’It really does look like the reason for the existence of this 501(c)(3) organization is to provide benefits to the for-profit company, and that should be a private benefit that is not acceptable,’ said Linda Sugin, a law professor at Fordham University. ‘You can’t have money going into the foundation being used for purposes that are really to support the for-profit organization.’”

The other noteworthy element of this arrangement is that the charity discloses that it pays Tucker Carlson no salary, while whatever salary, benefits, and bonuses are paid to him by the for-profit arm are kept secret.  Additionally, at the time of the investigation in 2016, very little content  that was posted to his charity site was promoted on social media but much of that same content was heavily promoted on the advertiser-driven, for-profit Daily Caller.

4.  Tucker Carlson’s “Charity” Has Been Funded by the Dark Money ATM DonorsTrust. A review of foundation giving shows that Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller News Foundation has accepted money from DonorsTrust, the secretive funding operation that is now led by longtime Koch operative Lawson Bader. Because of its close ties to the Koch network of billionaires, Mother Jones dubbed DonorsTrust the “Dark Money ATM” of the right-wing.

DonorsTrust has given Tucker Carlson’s foundation at least $40K, but there is no public data from 2018. His foundation can also accept unlimited and undisclosed personal and corporate checks.

5.  Tucker Carlson’s Charity Received a Huge Check from Charles Koch’s Foundation in 2016.  In the presidential election year, Tucker Carlson’s foundation received $946,127 from the Charles Koch Foundation. That year, the Daily Caller published hundreds of stories attacking Hillary Clinton and aiding Trump. That nearly million dollar gift came as Trump was running for President and constitutes more funding in a single year from foundations controlled by Koch than in all prior years combined, which tallied $805,512.

How much, if anything, the Daily Caller News Foundation received from the Koch charities during the mid-term election year is not yet known. What is known is that Tucker Carlson’s outlets have consistently pushed the Koch agenda on carbon, thwarting efforts to mitigate climate change  and pushing “deregulation” in numerous stories on its sites.

Although Tucker Carlson stepped away from managing the Daily Caller when he succeeded sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly’s spot at FOX, there is no disclosure of how much he continues to benefit from the activities of the Daily Caller, which has continued to echo his claims and his approach on issues involving women, race, immigration, our environment, and more. 

Energy Secretary Perry Will Headline Event at D.C. Steakhouse “Presented” by Coal Lobby

President Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry will headline an event at a Washington, D.C. steakhouse hosted by RealClearPolitics. The post describes the event as “presented by” two coal lobbying groups, the National Mining Association (NMA) and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

According to the most recent financial disclosures filed with the IRS, obtained by the Climate Investigations Center, ACCCE and NMA’s boards are comprised of numerous coal company executives including Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray.

Murray’s close ties to Perry and President Trump have been widely reported. Murray contributed $300,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee and hosted a fundraising event for Perry in 2011. Murray delivered a policy wishlist to Perry and top DOE officials during a meeting in 2017. Current EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler was also at the meeting, who was a registered lobbyist for Murray Energy in 2017.

Since then, the DOE has tried to deliver multiple bailouts to the coal industry, including a grid reliability plan that would subsidize coal and nuclear plants (FERC voted against the plan) and its “Coal FIRST initiative”, which would provide up to $38 million in funding for research into improving existing coal-fired power plants.

In February, President Trump urged Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to weigh “all factors” before voting to close a coal-fired power plant–which had direct ties to Murray–via tweet . Perry retweeted the President and said, “Coal helps keep American electricity affordable and reliable.” (The TVA board voted to close the coal plant.)

The event, called “Powering the Grid: Access, Affordability & Fuel Diversity,” will also feature West Virginia Republican Congressman David McKinley, who has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the mining industry.

Photograph by Gage Skidmore. Used under creative commons license.

David Bernhardt Photographs

David Bernhardt was picked to replace Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Department of the Interior in January of 2019. Prior to joining the Department, Bernhardt was a lobbyist for oil, gas, and mining interests. Ethics rules prohibit him from meeting with a long list of former clients. Here are a series of photos of David Bernhardt in action:

David Bernhardt spoke at the National Mining Association’s meeting at the Trump Hotel in October of 2017. An agenda from the meeting lists him as a speaker. Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Schreck, Bernhardt’s lobbying firm, and Hudbay Minerals, a mining company and former client of Bernhardt’s, are members of the Association.

David Bernhardt leaving a meeting of the National Mining Association at the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC in October of 2017.

The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) is a lobbying and trade group representing the offshore oil and gas industry. NOIA is a former client of David Bernhardt, and is listed on his ethics recusals documents. These photographs come from a report issued by NOIA in November of 2013.

David Bernhardt at a 2013 meeting of the National Ocean Industries Association.


David Bernhardt at a meeting of the National Ocean Industries Association in 2013.

FOIA Documents Show EPA Air and Radiation Head Continued Meeting With Industry He Once Represented

Bill Wehrum, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation and a former industry lawyer, continued to meet with fossil fuel interests regulated by the agency, according to five months of scheduling records from 2018 obtained by Documented.

While the EPA makes some calendars for senior staff publicly available, including Wehrum’s schedule, the records obtained provide more detailed information on the meetings, highlighting attendees and meeting topics.

The calendar entries obtained by Documented can be viewed here. Below are some highlights from the July through November records:

    • Wehrum gave a speech to the National Mining Association, a trade association that represents coal companies including Murray Energy, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal Corporation, Cloud Peak Energy, Inc., as well as his old law firm Hunton and Williams. He also met with Usibelli Coal Mine and two front groups for the coal industry, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and Lignite Energy Council. Last August, Wehrum’s department attempted to ease coal pollution regulations with a proposed replacement of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. His schedule also details a meeting with utility company Xcel energy regarding the rule replacement.
    • Wehrum met with Fitzgerald Trucks, the largest glider truck manufacturer in the United States, regarding glider kits. The company was handed a major win on Pruitt’s last day as EPA administrator when EPA granted a loophole to allow more pollution from glider trucks. The records also include a meeting with the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA).

    • In September 2018, Wehrum met with energy lobbyist Mike McKenna of MWR Strategies and Bob Meyers of Crowell & Moring LLP about “permitting a power plant up in New York State.” The entry does not detail the client who sought the permit, however, McKenna filed a federal lobbying disclosure form outlining “energy issues” with the EPA for Competitive Power Ventures, which announced commercial operation at its Wawayanda, NY power plant in October 2018.


Oil Lobby Targeted Republican Governors in Support for Roll Back in Fuel Standards, Emails Show

Last month, the New York Times published an in-depth investigation detailing the oil industry’s efforts to build support for the Trump Administration’s proposed rule that would roll back Obama-era corporate average fuel economy standards (CAFE) aimed at curbing climate change.

New emails obtained by Documented reveal similar efforts by the oil refinery lobbying group, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), which represents numerous fossil fuel corporations including ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, Chevron and Marathon Petroleum.

The emails are cited in a new report from DeSmogBlog,  outlining AFPM and other fossil fuel funded groups’ campaign to roll  back Obama-era fuel standards.

Below are some highlights from the emails obtained by Documented:

  • An Internal memo prepared for Wyoming Governor Matt Mead in advance of his meeting with AFPM client Holland & Hartstated AFPM had “been shopping around op-ed” supporting the changes to the CAFE rule. The language in op-ed, according to DeSmogBlog, similarly reflects language found in a letter from another fossil fuel funded group, the American Energy Alliance.
  • AFPM sent identical email messages to at least two Republican Governor offices, urging them to sign a letter that supported the proposed rule. AFPM noted in the emails that the Republican Governors Association (RGA) had circulated the letter as well. Documented has previously reported that RGA is funded by the fossil fuel industry. According to IRS fillings reviewed by Documented, RGA accepted more than $200,000 from AFPM during the 2018 election cycle.

  • Governors from Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota and Oklahoma signed the letter, which was published in the Federal Register as comments under the rule.

  • Wes Hambrick from the Texas Governor’s office circulated AFPM talking points about the proposed rule. The email was sent to Michael Lucci from the Illinois Governor’s office.  The talking points touted the benefits of the rule and criticized the Obama-era fuel efficiency targets.