Rob Bluey / Flickr Neal Boortz and Sean Hannity at...
Rob Bluey / Flickr

The news that Fox News talking head Sean Hannity was secretly Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s third client may have rocked the courtroom and social media alike, but it failed to turn heads at Fox News. Despite railing for days against the supposed impropriety of the FBI raid of Cohen’s office while simultaneously hiding that he, himself, might have been featured in documents seized by law enforcement, the network continued to stand by their biggest remaining network star.

The network will get another test of their would-be integrity this week. On Friday, it was revealed that Hannity’s relationship with another of his oft-promoted guests was not quite what it first seemed.

For months, Fox News’s Sean Hannity has promoted Henssler Financial and its Principal and Managing Director, Bil Lako. Hannity has featured articles from Lako on his website, and had Lako appear as a special guest on his radio show. Describing Lako as a “good friend”, and his “financial adviser”, Hannity failed to disclose that he stood to financially benefit from promoting Henssler. […]

Corporate documents and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records have revealed that Hannity is secretly a co-owner of Henssler Financial’s affiliate, Henssler Capital. His advertisement of the financial advisory firm came as the group sought and received millions of dollars in funding from investors.

That publicity boost proved lucrative for Henssler, and by extension for co-owner Sean Hannity.

Days after Lako was featured on Hannity’s radio show, Henssler filed a report with the SEC stating that they had raised $13 million from the time period stretching January 31-February 15. The identities of the investors remains confidential.

The free advertising of Henssler as it was in the middle of a round of fundraising, while failing to disclosure his personal involvement, raises serious questions about Hannity’s ethical standards.

“Raises questions” is a bridge too far; that particular question was asked and answered long ago. But it puts Fox News in the spotlight once again: Are their hosts allowed to secretly make a profit from the guests they book? And how many side-gigs do each of their other network hosts have?

While Hannity did not disclose his co-ownership of Henssler Capital, he did tell radio listeners that he was a “client” of Lako’s Henssler Financial. That’s a demure way of putting it: As The Guardian reports, Hennsler Financial helped Hannity purchase, via shell companies, “more than 870 homes in seven states over the past decade”, to the tune of “at least $90m”.

Among the most valuable are two large apartment complexes in Georgia that Hannity bought in 2014 for $22.7m. The developments are in the cities of Perry and Brunswick, which have higher poverty rates and lower median incomes than the US averages.

Imagine finding out, as hundreds of people may be about to, that Fox News talking head Sean Hannity is your landlord

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