Keith Olbermann suspended for campaign contributions to Grijalva, Giffords and Conway

Olbermann hosts the MSNBC commentary program "Countdown with Keith Olbermann."
Olbermann hosts the MSNBC commentary program "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." (Mark J. Terrill - AP)
Washington Post Staff
Friday, November 5, 2010; 3:09 PM

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC is under fire for contributions he made to several Democratic House candidates before the midterm elections.

As David Montgomery reported:

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely without pay for making political campaign contributions to three Democratic candidates last month, MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Politico first reported Friday morning that the host of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" gave $2,400 apiece in late October to Kentucky candidate Jack Conway and to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. The donation to Grijalva came on the same day the Democratic incumbent appeared on "Countdown," Politico reported.

The Washington Post political blog 44 explained:

In a statement to Politico, Olbermann said, "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. I also donated the same amount to the campaign of Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky." Olbermann went on to say he "did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level."

The news comes in the wake of Olbermann's harsh criticism of Fox News parent company News Corp., which donated to Republican-leaning groups. MSNBC president Phil Griffin also issued an open challenge in light of the News Corp. donations, saying to The New York Times in October, "Show me an example of us fundraising."

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