ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, who for 15 years expertly navigated his re-invention from tough Clinton operative to respected television journalist, has finally—and perhaps inevitably—slipped up.
It turns out that the 54-year-old Stephanopoulos—who served as a top aide in Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and first White House term before leaving to teach, write an acclaimed memoir and join ABC—failed to disclose to his ABC News bosses $75,000 in contributions he made to the Clinton Foundation.
Worse, he didn’t tell viewers, keeping silent about the potential conflict of interest even as he conducted a contentious interview April 26 on his Sunday panel show, This Week With George Stephanopoulos, with Clinton Foundation critic Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash.
In an interview with Politico media columnist Dylan Byers, who broke the story Thursday morning, Stephanopoulos apologized profusely to his viewers and ABC News colleagues for his misstep, announced that he would no longer moderate the scheduled ABC-sponsored Republican primary debate next February, promised to address the embarrassing issue on Sunday’s program, and expressed regret that he had given the Clinton Foundation money in the first place.
ABC initially said he’d donated a total of $50,000, but Stephanopoulos later corrected that figure, saying he’d written $25,000 checks in each of 2012, 2013, and 2014.
I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation. I apologize.”
Sen. Lee said in a statement to The Daily Beast: “I will ultimately make the final decision about each interview request we receive. But I am very concerned about how George’s donations to the Clintons calls into question his journalistic objectivity. You don’t give $75,000 to an organization and then forget to mention it when you interview a person who is questioning that organization. This fact will weigh heavily as I consider future media requests from ABC News.”
While on-air personalities at other news outlets have been punished for similar mistakes—MSNBC suspended hosts Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough for making political contributions without first obtaining permission—Stephanopoulos will face no disciplinary action, the ABC News spokesperson said.
While Clinton Cash’s sensational charges have received respectful attention from the The New York Times and other media outlets, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has worked hard to debunk Schweizer’s thesis that the Clinton state department and former president Clinton did favors for business people who donated generously to the family foundation.
Read more @: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/14/george-stephanopoulos-gave-75-000-to-the-clintons-and-didn-t-declare-it.html