UPDATE: Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely without pay for his donations to Democrats. Click here for the latest on the story.
ORIGINAL STORY: Politico reports that Keith Olbermann made campaign contributions to three Democratic candidates during the midterm elections.
Olbermann donated the maximum legal amount of $2,400 each to Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, and to Kentucky Senate contender Jack Conway. All three were in tight races with their Republican counterparts. The MSNBC host made the donations on Oct. 28, the same day that Grijalva made an appearance on "Countdown."
Olbermann released the following statement to Politico:
"One week ago, on the night of Thursday October 28 2010, after a discussion with a friend about the state of politics in Arizona, I donated $2,400 each to the re-election campaigns of Democratic Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. I also donated the same amount to the campaign of Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky...I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level."
Politico quotes NBC News' official policy on political activity by employees. The policy does not ban staffers from donating to political campaigns, but it does require them to "report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the President of NBC News or his designee." It is not clear whether Olbermann obtained such approval.
In recent weeks, Fox News has been criticized for Sean Hannity's on-air fundraising for Republican John Kasich; earlier this year, however, network boss Roger Ailes pulled Hannity from a starring role in a Tea Party event.