Since the 2020 presidential election, when Democrats emerged with a razor-thin majority in the Senate, Joe Manchin has been no stranger to his Republican colleagues: schmoozing with them on his houseboat, meeting to discuss concerns about President Joe Biden’s massive spending packages, and proving a consistent ally in derailing the aspirations of both Blue Dog Democrats and left-wing progressives.
As the Democrats’ critical 51st vote, the West Virginia senator has repeatedly taken to Fox News to warn his Democratic colleagues about the federal deficit and to air his grievances to the network’s conservative viewership. Manchin’s most recent financial disclosures suggest that those appearances are falling on receptive ears.
The senator received tens of thousands of dollars from Fox executives and lawyers from April to June, according to his campaign’s July filing with the Federal Election Commission. Prior to that, Manchin had not received a donation from a Fox employee since 2018, when James Murdoch, son of media mogul and Fox Corporation Chair Rupert Murdoch, donated to Manchin. Fox’s political action committee also chipped in to the senator’s campaign in the spring. The donations follow an influx of cash from fossil fuel behemoths and the centrist political organization No Labels.
With over a decade in the Senate, Manchin has made clear he represents the most conservative wing of the Democratic Party, and donors have taken note. “A lot of donations are part of the buddy network. The world of extremely rich and influential people in the United States is kind of small,” Stan Oklobdzija, a political science professor at Tulane University, told The Intercept. “Manchin has been around on the Hill for a long time, he’s a known commodity. These donors probably come across Manchin, they like him, they see him as reliable, and want to keep him in office.” [Continue reading…]