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MSNBC suspends Joe Scarborough for making unauthorized political contributions

November 19, 2010 | 11:27 am

Getprev Like Keith Olbermann before him, Joe Scarborough has been suspended from MSNBC for making unauthorized political contributions. On Friday, MSNBC announced that the host of "Morning Joe" would be forced to take an unpaid two-day hiatus from the network for making eight donations of $500 each to local candidates in Florida between 2004 and 2008.

When MSNBC president Phil Griffin suspended Olbermann earlier this month, many critics pointed out that Scarborough had also made contributions. But in a statement, Griffin claimed that Scarborough initially "did not recall" that he'd done so, and only informed Griffin of the donations on Friday morning.

"Since he did not seek or receive prior approval for these contributions, Joe understands that I will be suspending him for violating our policy," Griffin said. "He will be immediately suspended for two days without pay and will return to the air on Wednesday, November 24th. As Joe recognizes, it is critical that we enforce our standards and policies."

Scarborough promptly responded to the suspension in a statement. "It was recently brought to my attention that I made political contributions over the past several years that are not consistent with MSNBC's guidelines," he said. "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."

Scarborough said he gave these contributions to his brother and three family friends. "I gained nothing personally, politically, or professionally from these donations," he said. "To be blunt, I had no interest in their campaigns other than being kind to longtime friends.Because the contributions involved local, non-competitive races -- and were given for personal rather than political reasons -- I mistakenly believed I did not need approval from MSNBC. I also apologize for that oversight."

"I am proud to work for the NBC News family," Scarborough said. "There is nothing more important than maintaining the integrity of its highly respected brand."

--Melissa Maerz

Photo: Joe Scarborough, with his "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski. Credit: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images