New NPR chief is a Democrat donor

March 11, 2011 05:57

From the this’ll-add-fuel-to-the-fire file: Joyce Slocum, National Public Radio’s new interim chief executive, has made five federal-level political contributions of more than $500, all to Democrats, a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of campaign disclosures shows.

From of the Center for Responsive Politics

The Center’s research indicates that between 1999 and 2002, Slocum spread about $3,500 between Democratic U.S. House candidate Regina Montoya Coggins and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ron Kirk, who today serves as President Barack Obama’s chief trade representative.

NPR named Slocum to its top job following the resignation Wednesday of Vivian Schiller, who was forced out of her job after a secretly recorded video caught one of the network’s top officials calling Republicans “anti-intellectucal” and Tea Party members “racists.”

Meanwhile, some Republicans in Congress want to cut NPR’s federal funding, which is driven in part by the feeling that NPR is institutionally bent toward the left.

Slocum does not appear to have made political contributions while an employee of NPR, which her official biography says she joined in 2008. Until Wednesday, Slocum served as NPR’s senior vice president of legal affairs.

NPR’s ethics policy states that “NPR journalists may not run for office, endorse candidates or otherwise engage in politics. Since contributions to candidates are part of the public record, NPR journalists may not contribute to political campaigns, as doing so would call into question a journalist’s impartiality.”

NPR did not immediately respond to questions from OpenSecrets Blog about its political donation policy and whether it extends to Slocum.

(Update, 11:21 a.m.:) NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher indicated in an e-mail to OpenSecrets Blog Editor Dave Levinthal that Slocum’s donation history has no bearing on her employment at NPR.

“These campaign contributions were made between 1999 and 2002 — years before Joyce Slocum began working at NPR,” Christopher said.

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