Fox News host Sean Hannity is not just voting for Donald Trump this November — he has ties to a veterans’ organization that received a donation from the Republican presidential candidate,the Washington Post reported.
“Sean’s a great friend. He’s done a lot to help us,” said Freedom Alliance president Tom Kilgannon. “He continues to talk to people about us, and help us, and send support our way. He’s a great friend.”
That runs counter to the conservative networks’ description of the relationship between Hannity and the group, which cast it in the past tense.
“Sean Hannity has generously donated to, and proudly worked in the past with the Freedom Alliance organization,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement. “But has not worked with them for a number of years, including the current election cycle.”
Hannity did not mention his connection to the group during an interview with Trump on Tuesday in which he stated he would be voting for him.
The group received a $75,000 donation from Trump, though Kilgannon said he was not sure if Hannity recommended it to the real estate mogul. Kilgannon also said that Hannity is not paid by his organization.
The host is not listed as an officer or employee in its tax filings. However, he did work with Freedom Alliance on a series of “Freedom Concerts” that drew criticism in 2010. As Mother Jones reported at the time, two other groups — VoteVets and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) — filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) arguing that Kilgannon’s group did not live up to its promise that the money raised by the concerts would go toward a scholarship fund for veterans’ children.
The Virginia-based group, which was founded by former Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North, has amassed a two-star rating (out of a possible four) from one watchdog group, Charity Navigator, as well as a “D” grade from Charity Watch.
The latter rating was downgraded from a “C-” because it had four years’ worth of “available assets in reserve.” Charity Watch president Daniel Borochoff questioned Trump’s donation, saying that Freedom Alliance was not “a high-flying charity.”
“You give to charity because there’s a need, right? Not because they’re wealthy already,” Borochoff said. “So why is [Trump] giving to groups that already have so much money?”