George Stephanopoulos is engaging in damage control today after acknowledging that he donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation but didn't disclose that fact even while reporting on the foundation in his capacity as an anchor at ABC News. (Politico and the Washington Free Beacon first reported the donations.) The first hit: He's bowing out of ABC's Republican debate. "I'm sorry because I don't want anything to compromise my integrity or the standards of ABC News," he tells the New York Times. The newspaper notes that Republicans in particular have long accused Stephanopoulos—who co-hosts Good Morning America and moderates Sunday's This Week program—of a bias going back to his days as an aide to Bill Clinton. ABC is not taking disciplinary action.
Stephanopoulos tells Dylan Byers of Politico that he now regrets the donations, "even though I did it for the best reasons." And though he's recusing himself from the February debate, he tells CNNMoney that he'll continue to cover the 2016 election. One particularly vocal critic is Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer, who accused Stephanopoulos of a "massive breach of ethical standards." Stephanopoulos previously interviewed the author about his book, which alleges that donations to the foundation influenced Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Plenty of other criticism is surfacing, however: In another post at Politico, media writer Jack Shafer asserts that Stephanopoulos, "who has excelled at both politics and journalism, appears to have failed both professions with a single transgression." (Read more George Stephanopoulos stories.)