The wall that normally separates media from actively engaging in politics appears to have been breached in June when Tim Armstrong, AOL CEO and founder of Connecticut news websites Patch.com, hosted a fundraiser for Connecticut’s Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former WWE CEO Linda McMahon.
AOL launched its Darien Patch website in 2007. The online media company now covers 75 Connecticut towns and cities, making it one of the largest online media companies in the state.
The fundraiser was held at Armstrong’s Riverside home in Greenwich in late June, McMahon’s campaign confirmed for The Darien Times on Wednesday. McMahon listed the event as an in-kind contribution worth $2,500, and it was coded as an in-kind disbursement with the Federal Election Commission. In-kind contributions must be reported as an operating expenditure, even though no money was actually spent, according to the commission.
When asked if the fundraiser was successful, Kate Duffy, McMahon’s deputy communications director, told The Darien Times: “All our fundraisers are successful.”
Armstrong, who founded Patch in 2007, became CEO of AOL in 2009. He soon acquired Patch for AOL. He was previously president of Google’s Americas operation.
Armstrong did not respond to two requests for comment.