National

Hannity partners with RNC to fundraise for Trump’s re-election by selling ‘priority access’ to new book

Fox News host Sean Hannity is helping the Republican National Committee raise money for President Trump's re-election campaign, despite network rules supposedly barring employees from participating in campaign events. (Provided Photo/Fox News via CNN)

(CNN) — Fox News host Sean Hannity is helping the Republican National Committee raise money for President Trump’s re-election campaign, despite network rules supposedly barring employees from participating in campaign events.

In fundraising emails the RNC sent on Sunday and Monday, the committee told supporters that those who donate $75 or more would get “priority access” to signed copies of Hannity’s book “Live Free or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink,” which is set to be released Tuesday. As of Monday, Amazon listed it as the No. 2 selling book on the platform, followed by Mary Trump’s “Too Much and Never Enough” at No. 3.

Sunday’s email included the language, “Authorized by Trump Headquarters.”

“We are only offering this exclusive opportunity to our TOP supporters of the Republican National Committee, like YOU,” the email said. “When you get your signed copy, in addition to benefiting the RNC, your contribution will also be helping us fight to re-elect the President and ALL Republicans this November.”

The arrangement helps the RNC raise money while Hannity sells copies of his book.

That said, it’s highly unusual for a major television news host to enter into an agreement with a political party for fundraising purposes.

Adam Rothberg, a spokesperson for Simon & Schuster, said the publisher “did not sell the books” to the RNC and that it was “not involved in any messaging by, or other activity of, the RNC relating to their purchases of the book or otherwise.”

Steve Guest, a spokesperson for the RNC, told CNN, “The RNC regularly uses new books as part of our record-breaking fundraising efforts as we work to deliver victories across the country in November.”

Fox News has previously said that it does not allow its personalities to participate in campaign events with political candidates. But the network declined to comment and referred questions to Simon & Schuster when CNN Business pressed them about the two recent RNC emails.

This isn’t the first time that Hannity — who has a history of blatantly ignoring network rules and guidance — has partnered with a political party or candidate.

In 2018, Hannity generated significant controversy when he campaigned on stage with Trump at a rally. Fox News staffers privately expressed disgust and a Fox News spokesperson reiterated at the time that the network “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.”

“This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed,” a Fox spokesperson said about Hannity’s appearance at that rally in Missouri in 2018.

Hannity also appeared in a 2016 campaign ad for Trump. At that time, a Fox News spokesperson said that the network “had no knowledge” that Hannity had participated in the advertisement, adding that he would “not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election.”

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