Editor’s Note: This story first appeared in the Daily Beast. We reprint in part here.
ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, who for 15 years expertly navigated his re-invention from tough Clinton operative to respected television journalist, has finally—and perhaps inevitably—slipped up.
His mistake, by any definition, is a beaut—no doubt prompting a blush of shame and putting the network news division on the defensive.
It turns out that the 54-year-old Stephanopoulos—who served as a top aide in Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and first White House term before leaving to teach, write an acclaimed memoir and join ABC—failed to disclose to his ABC News bosses $75,000 in contributions he made to the Clinton Foundation.
Worse, he didn’t tell viewers, keeping silent about the potential conflict of interest even as he conducted a contentious interview April 26 on his Sunday panel show,This Week With George Stephanopoulos, with Clinton Foundation critic Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash.
In an interview with Politico media columnist Dylan Byers, who broke the story Thursday morning, Stephanopoulos apologized profusely to his viewers and ABC News colleagues for his misstep, announced that he would no longer moderate the scheduled ABC-sponsored Republican primary debate next February, promised to address the embarrassing issue on Sunday’s program, and expressed regret that he had given the Clinton Foundation money in the first place.
ABC initially said he’d donated a total of $50,000, but Stephanopoulos later corrected that figure, saying he’d written $25,000 checks in each of 2012, 2013, and 2014.