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D'oh! Another MSNBC anchor caught backing Democrats

Chris Hayes, guest hosting on MSNBC, July 2010

The man chosen to replace Keith Olbermann during the host’s suspension from MSNBC for unapproved political contributions has now been struck from the network’s lineup, following disclosure that he, too, made political donations to Democrats.

MSNBC had chosen Chris Hayes, editor of the Nation, to host the network’s prime-time political show “Countdown,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

But Hayes also made a series of donations to Democrats, to former Alabama candidate for the U.S. House Josh Segall and former Illinois primary candidate Thomas Geoghegan.

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Shortly after the donations were disclosed, MSNBC – which suspended Olbermann for political donations that violate the network’s ethics policy on impartiality and conflict of interest – announced Hayes would not be taking Olbermann’s place.

Prior to Friday’s “Countdown,” however, Hayes refuted the idea that he was removed from the lineup over his campaign donations.

“I’m not filling in on ‘Countdown’ tonight because I didn’t feel comfortable doing it given the circumstances,” Hayes wrote on Twitter. “My not hosting tonight has nothing to do with several donations I made to two friends before I ever signed an MSNBC contract.”

According to Federal Election Commission records, Hayes donated $1,500 to Segall in 2008 and $250 in December 2009. He donated $250 in January 2009 to Geoghegan.

Between his donations to Segall – in March of 2009 – Hayes served as a guest host for MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, and he hosted her show again this past summer, when he interviewed Geoghegan on camera.

Geoghegan, a labor lawyer and author, was a Democratic candidate in Illinois’s 2009 special election for its 5th congressional district, the seat vacated by former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

As WND reported, Olbermann was suspended indefinitely and without pay for making campaign contributions to three Democratic candidates in violation of a network ethics policy that states concern such contributions may “jeopardize [an employee’s] standing as an impartial journalist” and “may create the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

Since then, Politico’s Mike Allen reports that MSNBC sources told him Olbermann was suspended because he refused to apologize for the ethics policy violation on his show.

According to Mediaite, the “indefinite” suspension is turning out to be just two shows, since Olbermann is expected back on the air Tuesday night.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin is quoted as saying: “After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.”

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