“Morning Joe” host: “To be blunt, I had no interest in their campaigns other than being kind to longtime friends.”
Not this again.
"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough has been suspended by MSNBC without pay for making $4,000 worth of politcal donations without the company's consent, a violation of NBC News policy.
The suspension — like the the one "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann got earlier this month for the same violation — will be for two days, MSNBC said.
And, just like Olbermann, it was Politico that uncovered the donations that sacked Scarborough. (Interestingly, Scarborough contributed an essay to Politico.com on Thursday — a "Survival Guide" for the Congressional Class of 2010.)
As TheWrap reported at the time of Olbermann's suspension, he had company in cable newsville. Scarborough, who anchors "Morning Joe,'" and Fox News host Sean Hannity had also written checks to political candidates in the past, according to federal campaign disclosures.
Scarborough donated $4,200 to Oregon Republican Derrick Kitts' failed 2006 campaign for a U.S. House seat.
Friday's suspension was for eight donations — of $500 each — Scarborough made to friends and family members "running for state and local offices during his tenure at the network."
"To be blunt, I had no interest in their campaigns other than being kind to longtime friends," Scarborough said in a statement Friday afternoon. "Because the contributions involved local, non-competitive races — and were given for personal rather than political reasons — I mistakenly believed I did not need approval from MSNBC. I also apologize for that oversight."
Olbermann's suspension came after Politico reported that MSNBC's election night anchor donated $2,400 to Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. His donations to Grijalva and Giffords were made on the same day that Grijalva appeared as a guest on “Countdown."
Here's Scarborough's statement in full:
It was recently brought to my attention that I made political contributions over the past several years that are not consistent with MSNBC’s guidelines. These contributions were to close personal friends and family members and were limited to local races. Despite the fact that these races were local and not relevant to my work at MSNBC, I have been told they violated MSNBC guidelines.
I recognize that I have a responsibility to honor the guidelines and conditions of my employment, and I regret that I failed to do so in this matter. I apologize to MSNBC and to anyone who has been negatively affected by my actions. I gave a number of $500 contributions to my brother and three longtime family friends. These contributions were nothing more than simple acts of friendship. I gained nothing personally, politically, or professionally from these donations.
To be blunt, I had no interest in their campaigns other than being kind to longtime friends. Because the contributions involved local, non-competitive races — and were given for personal rather than political reasons — I mistakenly believed I did not need approval from MSNBC. I also apologize for that oversight.
After learning of this situation, I called Phil Griffin and agreed with Phil’s immediate demand of a two-day suspension without pay. I am proud to work for the NBC News family. There is nothing more important than maintaining the integrity of its highly respected brand. I apologize to Phil Griffin, Steve Capus, and my colleagues. This will not happen again.