The Washington Post reported that Corey Lewandowski, paid CNN contributor and former campaign manager for Donald Trump, “is set to be paid nearly half a million dollars by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by the end of the year.” CNN has stood by Lewandowski as a contributor despite his lucrative severance package and reports that he is still advising Trump.
CNN’s decision to hire Lewandowski has been widely criticized as an ethical morass by media ethicists and journalists condemning CNN for months. Lewandowski’s continued involvement with the Trump campaign, his likely non-disparagement agreement with Trump, and his penchant for pushing Trump talking points on air all raise serious questions about his continued employment at CNN. Given the clear conflict and CNN’s previous stance that contributors paid by a campaign “would not be permitted,” CNN should cut ties with Lewandowski immediately.
The Washington Post article detailed the continued connection between the Trump campaign and Lewandowski, as he “is set to be paid nearly half a million dollars… with almost a quarter of his compensation coming after the controversial political operative was ousted” (emphasis added):
Corey Lewandowski is set to be paid nearly half a million dollars by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by the end of the year, with almost a quarter of his compensation coming after the controversial political operative was ousted in June as campaign manager.
Lewandowski, who is now a paid commentator on CNN, collected at least $415,000 in salary, bonuses and severance from the Trump campaign between April 2015 and August of this year, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign finance filings. Campaign officials said he will continue receiving his $20,000 monthly pay as severance until the end of the year, which would give him a total of $495,000 over two years.
His compensation appears to be higher than that of his counterparts, though a direct comparison is difficult because Lewandowski is paid a flat fee through a limited-liability company rather than a campaign paycheck.
CNN has faced criticism for giving Lewandowski a regular platform while he is drawing large severance from the Trump campaign. Network officials have said his payments are publicly disclosed when he appears on the air.
Lewandowski said the severance does not conflict with his role at CNN, saying the arrangement has “been widely known.”