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Longtime Democratic donor Albie Hecht, the newly appointed executive vp and general manager of CNN’s Headline News Channel, will no longer be allowed to donate to political causes and candidates, a network spokesperson said Wednesday.
Questions were raised about the Spike TV founder and former Nickelodeon president’s role after it came to light that Hecht has personally contributed $35,550 to Democratic electoral efforts, including $13,750 to Barack Obama and his political committee, the Obama Victory Fund. Although most of Hecht’s donations to other candidates and liberal causes were spread over 15 years, they immediately set off alarm bells concerning possible partisanship at HLN.
In response to inquiries about Hecht’s political giving, Turner Broadcasting spokeswoman Alison Rudnick issued a statement saying that, “as an employee of CNN Worldwide, [Hecht] will not be able to make political contributions.” The story was first reported by Politico.
Over the past decade and a half, according to documents on file with the FEC, the new HLN chief has contributed $14,200 to the Democratic National Committee, $10,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $5,000 to MoveOn.org. He gave $1,000 to Tammy Duckworth in 2005, $3,500 to Kirsten Gillibrand in 2011 and $500 to Claire McCaskill in 2012. His most recent donation — $1,000 — went to Newark Mayor Cory Booker‘s New Jersey senatorial campaign.
In its former incarnation as Headline News, HLN was a meat-and-potatoes hard-news service. As HLN, it’s essentially become a vehicle for wall-to-wall coverage of sensational criminal trials and soft-focus medical and pop psychological advice. It’s best-known personalities are ex-prosecutor Nancy Grace and Dr. Drew Pinsky.
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