In an act which raises many ethical dilemmas, White House deputy chief Bill Shine is receiving millions of dollars in payment from Fox News’ parent company, according to a financial disclosure report accessed by CNBC.
Shine, who had to resign from his position as the co-president of Fox News after his shoddy handling of sexual harassment claims and discrimination allegations against Fox stalwart Bill O’Reilly and CEO Roger Ailes, received $8.4 million in severance pay from 21st Century Fox after he left the company in May of last year. He is expected to receive another $7 million in the coming two years as option payments and bonuses cumulate, meaning he would receive nearly $15 million from Fox even as he works at the White House. While it should be shocking to find someone working at the White House receiving so much money from a company that could be biased in its reporting of news, it appears to be a new normal in Trump’s era when Fox outcasts regularly land a job at the White House.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert and national security adviser John Bolton are both former Fox personalities, while it also works the other way when people who served in the Trump administration receive jobs at Fox. Trump’s former communications chief, Hope Hicks, was hired as communications director at Fox after she left the administration.
The White House Communications Director is literally on the Fox News payroll https://t.co/oLknHjtMOa— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) November 24, 2018
The Office of Government Ethics let CNBC access the financial disclosure report after the media outlet made several requests to know the same. Although there is nothing illegal about a White House employee receiving a severance package, the transaction assumes significance when the deputy chief is literally on a payroll of a news network that is accused of reporting in favor of the administration and continually toes the president’s line. Its stalwart Sean Hannity is a Trump favorite and can often be found ditching significant stories if they don’t cast the president or his administration in a positive light.
Moreover, Trump also has a troubling record of hiring executives with obvious question marks over their professional conduct. While Shine himself was not accused of sexual harassment, he was named in several lawsuits which alleged that he played a significant role in covering up Roger Ailes’ behavior and disregarded the testimonies of women who accused Ailes of harassment.
CNBC tried reaching out to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for comment, but neither she nor Bill Shine responded to the report.