Oregon’s attorney general announced Monday she is investigating Fox Corp.’s board of directors for “breach of fiduciary duty” after Fox News repeatedly broadcast election lies in the wake of the 2020 election. That resulted in a historic $787 million defamation settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.
“Treasurer Read and I believe that Fox’s board of directors breached its fiduciary duties by allowing Fox News to broadcast false claims that Dominion and Smartmatic rigged the 2020 presidential election,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in a statement. “We hope to hold the board accountable and protect the long-term value of Oregon’s investment in Fox Corp.”
The attorney general’s office said the Oregon Department of Justice and the Treasury “will explore leading a suit against Fox’s management on behalf of the company’s harmed investors,” which includes the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Funds.
“We invest for Oregon’s public servants and we aim to hold Fox’s board of directors, including Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, accountable for their decisions,” added state Treasurer Tobias Read, who is a member of the Oregon Investment Council, which sets state investment policy . “Investigating Fox’s books and records is a necessary and significant step in fulfilling our obligation to our beneficiaries.”
A Fox spokesperson declined to comment.
In April, Fox News reached a last-second settlement with Dominion to avert a painful six-week trial in what is the largest publicly known defamation settlement in US history involving a media company.
The right-wing network said in a statement at the time that it “acknowledged[s] the Court’s ruling finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” referring to Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis’ ruling that 20 Fox News broadcasts after the 2020 election contained blatantly untrue assertions that Dominion rigged the presidential election.
Fox News also settled a defamation lawsuit brought by a Venezuelan businessman in April after he accused the network of falsely claiming he helped rig the 2020 presidential election.
Fox News is still facing an even larger defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic, another voting technology company that was similarly smeared on Fox News’ shows after the 2020 election. That case is still in the discovery process, and a trial isn’t expected until 2025.