Ted Cruz Flips Out When Confronted Over Sketchy Podcast Deal

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) lashed out at a reporter this week after she pressed him on the massive amount of money that iHeartMedia, the radio network that distributes his podcast, has poured into a super PAC supporting his re-election campaign.

‘It really is sad what’s happened to the media,” Cruz sneered when ABC 13 reporter Shannon Ryan asked him about a bombshell report by the Houston Chronicle.

Last week, the Chronicle revealed that iHeartMedia had sent over $630,000 in payments to the Truth and Courage PAC since March 2023, accounting for roughly one-third of the committee’s total contributions in that timeframe. Experts told the Chronicle that the payments “appear to be a novel arrangement that blur the lines between what is allowed” under Senate ethics rules and campaign finance laws.

After launching his “Verdict” podcast in 2020 and quickly gaining a devoted MAGA audience, Cruz announced in October 2022 that iHeartMedia had picked up the show, calling it a “big damn deal” as the program would be carried on 850 radio stations. A watchdog group soon filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee, alleging that Cruz violated rules barring lawmakers from receiving gifts from registered lobbyists, which iHeartMedia is. Cruz, at the time, argued that he received no financial benefit from the arrangement, and the committee eventually tossed the complaint.

The iHeartMedia payments, which the company says are associated with Verdict’s advertising revenue, would seem to contradict the senator’s claims that he is not paid to host the thrice-weekly podcast. In fact, the PAC reports the payments as “other receipts” and not as political contributions. Yet, both Cruz and the media giant insisted to the Chronicle that the Texas Republican “volunteers his time to host this podcast and isn’t compensated for it.”

Ryan caught up with Cruz on Tuesday and confronted him on the podcast and the large payments the PAC has received from iHeartMedia. After the senator asserted he does the show because the media doesn’t report the actual news, the Houston-based reporter wondered how he could still claim he’s not getting paid for Verdict.

“So if an entity which employs lobbyists is giving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to your re-election efforts, how can you say you’re not being compensated?” Ryan asked.

“You know, it really is sad what’s happened to the media, which is the media exists right now seemingly to parrot left-wing Democrat attacks,” Cruz fired back. He then mocked the Campaign Legal Center, the watchdog that initially brought the ethics complaint in 2022, as a “left-wing Democrat attack group” while noting the Senate found he didn’t violate any ethics laws.

Ryan, meanwhile, pointed out in her report that the initial ethics complaint merely challenged the podcast deal itself and that the iHeartMedia money currently flowing into the PAC has yet to be investigated.

In the end, Cruz wrapped up the interview by taking another swipe at Ryan and the press.

“So all the Democrats are left to do is make false personal attacks,” he fumed. “I get you’re going to carry their water, but my request to you is simple: actually cover the issues!”

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