NEW YORK — ABC Chief News Anchor George Stephanopoulos, a Greek-American who made a successful transition from politics – as an advisor in Bill Clinton’s White House – to journalism, emerging as the most important newsman of a major network, failed to disclose to his employers and to the public that he made contributions totaling $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Originally, Stephanopoulos disclosed he had donated $50,000 but later clarified the amount.
To avoid further conflict of interest, he has withdrawn as moderator for one of the 2016 major party presidential debates.
The Associated Press story follows:
ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos has apologized for not notifying his employer and viewers about two contributions totaling $50,000 [NOTE: Now $75,000] that he made to the Clinton Foundation.
The network news division said Thursday that “we stand behind him.”
The donations, made in two installments in 2013 and 2014 and first reported in Politico, were made because of Stephanopoulos’ interest in the foundation’s work on global AIDS prevention and deforestation, he said.
Stephanopoulos, co-host of “Good Morning America” and host of the Sunday morning public affairs program “This Week,” has reported on Peter Schweizer’s book, “Clinton Cash,” which traces the public involvement of organizations that have donated to the foundation set up by former President Bill Clinton, whose wife Hillary is the former secretary of state running for the 2016 presidential nomination. Stephanopoulos interviewed Schweizer on “This Week.”
The news anchor said that he believed his contributions were a matter of public record.
“However, in hindsight, I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on the air during the recent news stories about the foundation,” he said. “I apologize.”
ABC News, in a statement, agreed that Stephanopoulos was wrong not to notify his bosses and viewers but called it an honest mistake.
Stephanopoulos worked on Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign and in the White House during the early years of Clinton’s administration. He joined ABC News in 1997 and besides his regular work on the two programs, he is ABC News’ chief anchor during major breaking news stories.