Fox News host Jeanine Pirro was in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, but she wasn't in Erie to cover President Trump's latest rally — she was headlining a fundraiser in York for Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner.
Pirro, who has hosted Justice with Judge Jeanine on Fox News since January 2011, was the featured guest speaker for the "special campaign event" paid for by Wagner's gubernatorial campaign, which took place at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in York. According to an invitation, individual tickets to the event cost $130, while VIP seats went for $2,500 a ticket (and included a signed copy of her latest book, Liars, Leakers and Liberals).
Pirro has been paid a total of $24,500 by Wagner's gubernatorial campaign as a "fundraising event speaker" since Aug. 14, according to campaign finance reports. The payments came before Wagner claimed in a recent fundraising email that his campaign was "tapped out" after spending more than $10 million of his own money to unseat Democratic incumbent Gov. Wolf.
Wagner's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Regardless of the opinions they espouse on their shows, Fox News hosts (like most media personalities) are not typically allowed to campaign for political candidates. But Pirro, whose weekly Saturday night show has grown in stature since Trump was elected president, appears to have quietly become a frequent speaker at fundraisers for Republican candidates.
According to a report by the progressive media watchdog Media Matters, Pirro appeared at at least 10 fundraisers last year for organizations working to get GOP candidates elected. Those groups frequently used her affiliation with Fox News as a selling point for tickets that sold for hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of dollars.
Pirro has made several paid appearances at Republican Party fundraisers in Pennsylvania over the past two years. In March 2017, Pirro was the "special guest" for a leadership reception hosted by the Erie County Republican Committee. She was also the headliner for the Republican Committee of Lower Merion and Narberth's Lincoln Day Dinner in March 2017 in Philadelphia.
Pirro also appeared alongside Wagner at a Republican Committee of Allegheny County fundraiser at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh in Sept. 2017, and headlined an Oct. 2016 fundraiser for Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania in King of Prussia.
It's unclear what position Fox News has on Pirro's fundraising for Republican Party groups. Neither Fox News nor Pirro responded to a request for comment.
The network allowed host Laura Ingraham to headline a campaign fundraiser for Republican senate candidate Kelli Ward in Arizona in 2017 because her show had not yet begun. And Sean Hannity was banned from promoting Republican candidates after he participated in a campaign video for Trump less than two months before the 2016 election.
"We were not aware of Sean Hannity participating in a promotional video, and he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election season," a Fox News spokesperson told the Daily Beast at the time.
The network's decision on allowing Pirro to participate in political activities may come down to a technicality involving her employment status. Unlike Hannity, Ingraham, and most of the network's other popular hosts, Pirro is only a Fox News contributor — not a full-fledged employee.