ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos on Thursday apologized in a statement to Politico’s On Media blog for his previously undisclosed donations totaling $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
“I made charitable donations to the Foundation in support of the work they’re doing on global AIDS prevention and deforestation, causes I care about deeply,” he said in the statement. “I thought that my 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 air during the recent news stories about the Foundation. I apologize.”
The large donation by Stephanopoulos, who was the communications director for Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign and then was the White House communications director, was revealed a month after he interviewed Peter Schweizer, the author of the book Clinton Cash, which investigated donations made to the Clinton Foundation while Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton was working as secretary of state, on ABC’s “This Week.”
Pushing back on Peter Schweizer’s claims, Stephanopoulos said, “You take it pretty far.” He continued:
“We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action. And an independent government ethics expert, Bill Allison, of the Sunline Foundation, wrote this. He said, ‘There’s no smoking gun, no evidence that she changed the policy based on donations to the foundation.’
ABC News gave its own statement backing Stephanopoulos. “As George has said, he made charitable donations to the Foundation to support a cause he cares about deeply and believed his contributions were a matter of public record,” the statement said. “He should have taken the extra step to notify us and our viewers during the recent news reports about the Foundation. He’s admitted to an honest mistake and apologized for that omission. We stand behind him.”