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Friday, November 5, 2010

Olbermann contributed to three Democrats

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann made campaign contributions to two Arizona members of Congress and failed Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway ahead of Tuesday’s election — a potential violation of NBC ethics policies.

Olbermann, who acknowledged the contributions in a statement to POLITICO, made the maximum legal donations of $2,400 apiece to Conway and to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. He donated to the Arizona pair on Oct. 28 — the same day that Grijalva appeared as a guest on Olbermann’s “Countdown” show.

Olbermann, who has become one of the most prominent liberal commentators on cable television, has been a critic of the political donations made by Fox News’s parent company, News Corp., which contributed $1 million each to a pair of organizations trying to defeat Democratic candidates.
MSNBC President Phil Griffin also tweaked rival network Fox over the contributions. “Show me an example of us fundraising,” Griffin told The New York Times last month.

POLITICO discovered the Olbermann donation to Grijalva in a Federal Election Commission filing, and when MSNBC was asked for a comment, it forwarded a statement from Olbermann:

“One week ago, on the night of Thursday October 28 2010, after a discussion with a friend about the state of politics in Arizona, I donated $2,400 each to the reelection campaigns of Democratic Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords,” Olbermann said. “I also donated the same amount to the campaign of Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky.”

A 2007 story laid out the rules for the network regarding such contributions:
"Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest. Such activities may include participation in or contributions to political campaigns or groups that espouse controversial positions. You should report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the president of NBC News or his designee.”  (Full story here)

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