A conservative political consultant was on the payroll of the Trump 2020 re-election campaign this spring, while also defending the president in political commentary on the Fox Business Network.
The campaign's most recent disclosure report, filed Saturday, lists two payments to ProActive Communications LLC: $20,000 on April 17 of this year and $10,000 on May 30 — a period when Mark Serrano, the company's president and founder, was making frequent appearances on the Fox Business Network. The network identified the longtime commentator until recently as a former adviser to President George H.W. Bush; now it calls him a senior adviser to President Trump's re-election campaign.
The Washington Post first reported the conflict Wednesday.
Serrano posted clips of some Fox appearances on his personal website. "The only collusion going on in Washington is between ... the media and the Democrats," he said on May 19. A week earlier, he told anchor Neil Cavuto, "The president turns to Twitter for a very good reason. You know, it's because he knows that the American people don't believe this fake news story about Russian collusion."
Serrano called the Post story a "fake news hit piece" that targeted Trump and Fox News. He issued a statement saying that when he "formalized a relationship with the reelection campaign ... I notified my booking contacts at Fox Business Network."
Fox Business said the notification didn't come until June. In a written statement, the network cited its policy to disclose "all ties our guests have to any subject matter, and in the case of Mark Serrano, as soon as we were made aware of his new title last month, we made sure to disclose his role during his on-air appearances." Fox Business has signaled that Serrano won't be on again for the foreseeable future.