MSNBC has suspended “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough for two days without pay for making eight campaign donations to Florida political candidates.
NBC News, parent of MSNBC, bans political contributions by its journalists without prior approval of the president, MSNBC said on its website.
“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,” the NBC News policy reads.
“Such activities may include participation in or contributions to political campaigns.”
Scarborough’s suspension comes two weeks after Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” was suspended “indefinitely” for making donations to three Democratic congressional candidates in 2010. The network later reduced the suspension to two days.
The contributions from Scarborough, a former Republican member of Congress from Florida who left office in 2001, were made from 2004 to 2008, after he joined MBNBC full-time as host of the evening show “Scarborough Country.”
They include two checks to his brother George, a lawyer who ran for the state Legislature twice, and three to state legislative candidate Matt Gaetz, who won an April special election for a seat in the Pensacola area, and his father Don Gaetz, who ran in 2005 for the state senate, Politico reported.
He also gave three checks to his former congressional chief of staff, David Stafford, who was elected as Escambia County’s election supervisor.
“These contributions were nothing more than simple acts of friendship,” Scarborough said in a statement on Friday. “I gained nothing personally, politically, or professionally from these donations.”
“I apologize to MSNBC and to anyone who has been negatively affected by my actions.”
Scarborough will return to the air on Wednesday, Nov. 24.
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