Political pundits have wondered why CNN’s Chief Washington Correspondent, Jake Tapper, was not moderating Tuesday’s Democratic debate from Las Vegas, Nevada. They now may have an answer.
The Clinton Global Initiative’s website lists CNN’s Anderson Cooper as a “notable past member.”
A list of CGI members was published by Mediaite when ABC’s “This Week” moderator George Stephanopoulos failed to disclose his own ties to the foundation during an interview with “Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer on April 22.
Stephanopoulos eventually apologized to viewers for not disclosing $75,000 in CGI donations.
Cooper told the Huffington Post Oct. 7 there would be no “gotcha” questions during Tuesday nights Democratic debate. Instead, wants people to get to know the candidates – including Clinton, a former secretary of state and first lady who has been in the public eye for decades.
“I think there’s great opportunity … to really get a sense of who these people are,” Cooper said. “And I think that’s what people walk away with the next day or that night, thinking, ‘Oh, now I get who Martin O’Malley is,’ or ‘I get what Clinton’s position is on X, Y or Z.'”
Cooper’s membership at CGI put him in company with other high-profile journalists, such as: Christiane Amanpour, Matt Lauer, Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, and Greta Van Susteren, the Weekly Standard reported Tuesday.
The Clinton Foundation said media members like Cooper were not expected to pay its $20,000 membership fee, Mediaite reported May 15.
Cooper called the Weekly Standard’s reporting “total bunk” when asked by Jake Tapper about his connections with CGI during the network’s pre-debate coverage.
“In 2007 I was asked to moderate a panel discussion at Clinton Global Initiative. Honestly, I can’t even remember what the panel was. There were no Clintons on the panel. I think it was on, like, international development aid or, honestly, I have no memory of what it was,” the host said.
CNN’s debate begins 8:30 p.m. EST. from the Wynn hotel and casino in Las Vegas.
Clinton will face off against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
Anderson will be joined by co-moderators Juan Carlos Lopez of CNN en Español, and CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash.