MSNBC Suspends Joe Scarborough Over Campaign Donations

Two weeks after they suspended Keith Olbermann for two days over undisclosed campaign donations, MSNBC has issued a similar two-day suspension to morning host Joe Scarborough for the same reason:

MSNBC said Friday that it is suspending “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough for two days after he acknowledged giving eight previously unknown $500 contributions to friends and family members running for state and local offices during his tenure at the network, a violation of parent NBC’s ban on political contributions by employees without specific permission from the network president.

“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,” Scarborough said in a statement. “I apologize to MSNBC and to anyone who has been negatively affected by my actions,” he said, adding that after he was made aware of some of the contributions, he called MSNBC president Phil Griffin “and agreed with Phil’s immediate demand of a two-day suspension without pay.”

POLITICO had sought comment from the network after finding evidence that Scarborough gave at least five previously unknown $500 contributions while serving as an MNBC host – all to Republican candidates to whom he was close who were running for state legislative seats in or near Scarborough’s hometown of Pensacola, Fla. After being contacted by POLITICO about the donations, Scarborough voluntarily disclosed three other $500 contributions to a friend running for county office in Florida.


The five contributions found by POLITICO all were made since 2005 and went to Republican candidates close to the conservative host and were running for state legislative seats in or near Scarborough’s hometown of Pensacola, Fla. They include a pair of checks to Scarborough’s brother George Scarborough, who twice ran for state House, and three to a father-son legislative duo who have known Joe Scarborough since the mid-1990s.

MSNBC said that when Scarborough went through his records, he found three additional $500 contributions to David Stafford, his former congressional chief of staffwho was running for Escambia County Supervisor of Elections.

This is, of course, MSNBC”s decision and their policy and they have every right to enforce it. As said at the time of the Olbermann suspension, though, this all strikes me as much ado about nothing:

The fact that Olbermann contributed to a few Democratic candidates is no more surprising than the news, also obtainable through the FEC database, that Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity contributed $ 4,800 to the campaign of Republican John Gomez, who was running for Congress in the Congressional District where Hannity lives, and $ 5,000 to Michelle Bachmann’s Political Action Committee, or that Hannity’s wife Jill (who lists her occupation as “homemaker”) also contributed $ 5,000 to Bachmann’s PAC. In other words — Breaking News: Keith Olbermann is a Democrat, and Sean Hannity is a Republican.

And to that you can add, Joe Scarborough — who served as a Republican in Congress — is a Republican who contributed money to friends and family members who were running for office. Call me when there’s a real media scandal.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Franklin says:

    They both violated the terms of their employment, so I guess the minor punishment is warranted.