MSNBC brass isn’t saying when Keith Olbermann will be allowed back on-air. On Friday, the cable news host was suspended “indefinitely without pay” by MSNBC President Phil Griffin following the publication of a story in Politico that revealed Olbermann had made campaign contributions to Democratic candidates.
A spokesperson for the network told The Observer that there is “no time frame” for Olbermann’s return. The Nation’s Chris Hayes will fill in for Olbermann tonight, but a decision has yet to be made about next week.
Olbermann’s campaign contributions were a violation of MSNBC’s ethics policy, which prohibits staffers from making political donations. Olbermann gave money to three Democrats: unsuccessful Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and another Arizona Congressman, Raul Grijalva. All of Olbermann’s contributions were $2,400, the maximum amount allowable by law during an individual election cycle.
Grijalva appeared as a guest on “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” on Oct. 28, the same day he received the donation from the MSNBC host. Olbermann did not disclose the contribution that day or on subsequent “Countdown” broadcasts.
Campaign contributions have also caused controversy at Fox News, where CEO Rupert Murdoch gave $2 million to two GOP-affiliated groups and host Sean Hannity was accused of allowing a Republican candidate to campaign on his show.
Olbermann, normally a prolific Tweet-er, has, thus far, remained silent on the situation.
Update 5:13PM: Olbermann’s initial replacement, Chris Hayes of The Nation, has also been suspended by MSNBC following a report in the Village Voice that he also made campaign contributions to Democrats in 2008 and 2009. There’s no word yet on who will fill-in for Olbermann tonight with Hayes out of commission.
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