By Darrel Rowland and Jonathan Riskind
Though John Kasich’s old boss at Fox News couldn’t legally give him $1 million directly, Rupert Murdoch now acknowledges his ‘friendship’ with Kasich sparked a million-dollar contribution to a group running ads bashing Gov. Ted Strickland.
The donation went to the Republican Governors Association, which has bought more than $1 million worth of anti-Strickland ads — more than 3,000 spots in central Ohio alone. The commercials all have slammed Strickland with the line “he didn’t get the jobs done.”
The Democratic Governors Association plans to file a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission over the ad. The Democratic group says Murdoch’s new comments indicate that he was earmarking the $1 million for Kasich, which would be illegal.
“News Corp., parent company of Fox, gave $1 million to defeat Ohio’s Democratic governor and put one of its own hosts in control of one of the most important states for 2012,” the association said.
Murdoch is head of News Corp., which includes Fox News, where Kasich worked as a commentator and host for several years.
A News Corp. spokesman refused to comment.
Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association, said they asked Murdoch for a contribution, but added, “We don’t earmark any money for any states. Donors know that straight up.”
Kasich spokesman Scot Milburn said, ‘This [Murdoch contribution] is not something the campaign solicited.’
A Strickland campaign spokeswoman declined to comment.
Murdoch was asked Thurday night whether the million-dollar gift to the Republican Governors Association might affect the public’s perception of Fox News, whose theme is “fair and balanced.”
“It doesn’t reflect on Fox News,” he said, according to Politico, a Washington publication covering politics. “It had nothing to do with Fox News. The RGA (gift) was actually (a result of) my friendship with John Kasich.”
The Democratic Governors Association— which has run anti-Kasich spots — filed a complaint about a month ago with the Elections Commission accusing Fox of an illegal in-kind donation to Kasich because it displayed a link to the Republican’s website while he was on The O’Reilly Factor. The association later withdrew that complaint so it could be amended, and Murdoch’s admission now will be included.
News Corp. also has given $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has spent several million dollars this year to support Republican candidates. Murdoch told Politico he thought the chamber contribution would not become public knowledge.