Trump Campaign Paid CNN Commentator $20K Last Month
Documents show it was for 'strategy consulting'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2016 1:33 PM CDT
CNN commentator Corey Lewandowski is still on the Trump campaign payroll.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(Newser) – CNN was widely criticized for hiring a former Trump campaign manager as a commentator back in June. So you can imagine the reaction now that it appears the network may have actually hired a current Trump strategy consultant. The Washington Post reports FEC filings from the Trump campaign show Corey Lewandowski was paid $20,000 by the campaign in August for "strategy consulting." It was the second monthly payment Lewandowski received from the Trump campaign since being fired in June, according to the New York Times. CNN described the first payment as "severance."

The Trump campaign claims this second payment was also severance. But it didn't respond when asked why both payments are listed as consulting instead. CNN and Lewandowski refused to comment. The Trump campaign says Lewandowski will continue to receive severance payments through the end of the year. If Lewandowski is indeed still a paid consultant for Trump, it would represent a conflict of interest typically seen as unethical in journalism. Mediaite reports Lewandowski was pulled from a scheduled appearance on CNN's New Day on Wednesday after news of the most recent payment broke. It also originally reported he had been suspended by CNN, but the network denies it.