A file photo of MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann.
Keith Olbermann, taken some time before his campaign contributions were detected by Politico. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Freedom to Marry/Flickr)

Politico reports that Keith Olbermann, host of the popular MSNBC program “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” has been suspended indefinitely by his network for multiple breaches of NBC’s ethics policies. The breaches involved campaign contributions to two Arizona members of Congress and Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway. Conway was defeated in his bid for office in Election 2010.

Keith Olbermann does not deny the campaign contributions

In a statement made to Politico, Keith Olbermann admitted to making the maximum legal donations of $2,400 each to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords, as well as Conway. Grijalva and Giffords received funds on Oct. 28, the same day that Grijalva was a guest on “Countdown.” The donation was made under the table, as NBC and most news organizations have specific rules barring employees from giving political contributions. Giving money to a candidate a journalist (like Keith Olbermann) covers is considered to be a particularly egregious violation of media ethics.

Olbermann has criticized News Corp donations

News Corp, the parent company for Fox News, has been a frequent Keith Olbermann punching bag. The Rupert Murdoch-owned company was documented as having given $1 million each to two Republican campaign organizations. Olbermann cried foul, questioning the ethics of such spending by a supposedly impartial media organization.

The politicians had to document Olbermann’s contributions

While Keith Olbermann made the political contributions off the record from MSNBC, the political candidates were required by law to document the contributions. This is how Politico discovered the three transactions – they appeared in a Federal Election Commission filing. Olbermann’s contribution file listed the address of a Mailboxes Etc. storefront in New York.

Once Politico approached Olbermann for comment, he issued a written statement through MSNBC in which he admitted to the contributions. Olbermann also said that he had no intention of influencing others to contribute to these or any other candidates, and that he had contributed to political candidates at no other time during his career as a professional journalist.

Sources:

Politico http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44734.html

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