MSNBC Suspends Joe Scarborough for GOP Donations

"Morning Joe" host and former Republican congressman out for two days for same NBC policy which snared Keith Olbermann

Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, was suspended for two days without pay Friday for donations he made to GOP political candidates.

The news comes in the wake of Keith Olbermann’s contentious and highly public suspension earlier this month after Politco uncovered donations he made to three Democrats shortly before the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

At the time some of Scarborough’s political donations also came to light and MSNBC said he had sought prior permission for the donations, which were made in 2006.  But when Politico began making inquiries about additional donations between 2004-08, many to political friends and family (including Scarborough’s brother) in Florida, Scarborough came clean to MSNBC president Phil Griffin. Interestingly, Scarborough writes a column for the politically-themed website Politico.

In a statement, the former Republican congressman admitted to giving multiple $500 contributions to his “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.” None of the recipients appeared on his show.

The grand total of those donations: $2,000. Scarborough will be back on the air Wednesday.

In a statement, Griffin cited the NBC News policy that stipulates employees seek prior permission to engage in political activities and added, “Joe recognizes it is critical that we enforce our standards and policies.”

When Olbermann was suspended (also for two days), the policy itself came under fire for its inherent archaism given that the views of MSNBC’s biggest personalities are well known.

And Griffin’s statement offers an unspoken reference to Olbermann, who vocally criticized the policy on his show and in a statement to the media, essentially firing a broadside at MSNBC management.

But Scarborough’s statement on the matter was rather contrite:

“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.”