Former Bill Clinton White House aide and long-time ABC News anchorman George Stephanopoulos is apologising for his failure to disclose donating $75,000 to the controversial Clinton Foundation — while reporting on it.
Stephanopoulos told Politico, which first revealed the contributions, that he contributed the money for "the best reasons" but "probably shouldn't have" made the donations.
"Over the last several years, I've made substantial donations to dozens of charities, including the Clinton Global Foundation," Stephanopoulos said on Good Morning America. "Those donations were a matter of public record, but I should have made additional disclosures on air when I covered the foundation, and I now believe that directing personal donations to that foundation was a mistake.
"Even though I made them strictly to support work done to stop the spread of AIDS, help children and protect the environment in poor countries, I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict."
ABC News has called Stephanopoulos' lapse an "honest mistake" and doesn't plan any disciplinary action. While ABC journalists are barred from making political contributions, they can contribute to a charity like the Clinton Foundation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The revelation shocked many media observers. The Clinton Foundation has been roundly criticised for accepting money from individuals and organisations suspected of attempting to curry favour with Hillary Clinton. But Stephanopoulos has been highly sceptical of accusations that big donors received favourable treatment from the government while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and may be expecting payback as well if she ascends to the White House.
Some Republicans have long accused Stephanopoulos — who co-hosts Good Morning America and moderates Sunday's This Week programme — of an obvious reporting bias linked to his days with Bill Clinton.
Peter Schweizer, whose book Clinton Cash alleges that foundation donations may have influenced some of Hillary Clinton's actions as secretary of state, accused Stephanopoulos of a "massive breach of ethical standards".
Schwiezer faced a hostile interview from Stephanopoulos two weeks ago about his accusations, and the author is now calling for an interview redo on ABC.
In the wake of the uproar over the contribution Stephanopoulos is no longer covering the Republican debate early next year on ABC — but he will continue to cover the presidential election.
"I don't want to be a distraction, so I'm not going to moderate that debate," he told CNNMoney.