A Redundant Purchase of Access

I’m not remotely as fired up as some people seem to be about the Stephanopolous Affair, perhaps because I’m in denial about how bad the 2016 presidential candidate debates will likely be, with or without George’s involvement.

But one thing does puzzle me. If the idea here is that there is a “conflict of interest” because Stephanopolous contributed to the Clinton Foundation to curry favor with his former White House overlords, what kind of access does anyone think a $75,000 charitable contribution will buy that four years of sitting next door to the Oval Office hasn’t already secured? And if we’re worried about bias, there are surely more egregious partisans in line to moderate debates than this guy. As Jonathan Chait notes today, Stephanopolous “has spent his journalistic career (effectively) rebutting the presumption that he remains loyal to the president that made him famous.”

That may make him an ingrate, but $75,000 sure won’t buy him absolution.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.