The ABC News spokesperson who rebuffed the Free Beacon’s request for comment on George Stephanopoulos’ undisclosed donations to the Clinton Foundation also worked in the Clinton administration.
Heather Riley, spokeswoman for ABC News programs Good Morning America and This Week, worked in the White House press office from 1997 to 2000, according to her LinkedIn profile, and is a member of the Facebook group “(Bill) Clinton Administration Alumni.” White House records show that Riley’s duties included serving as a press contact for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Prior to joining ABC News, Riley worked at MSNBC, CNN, and as a senior director of brand communications for Rodale, Inc., the publishing company best known for wellness magazines such as Men’s Health. Rodale also published former Vice President Al Gore’s best-selling global warming book, An Inconvenient Truth.
Rodale, Inc., and its charitable foundation have donated between $20,000 and $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation, records show. The Rodale family contributed at least $5,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaigns between 2005 and 2008.
In response to a number of questions about ABC News and Stephanopoulos' donations to the Clinton Foundation, Riley repeatedly told the Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple: "We stand behind him."
It is not the first time Riley has defended ABC News against allegations of favoritism toward the Clintons. When Hillary Clinton appeared on Good Morning America in May 2014—just days after Vanity Fair published Monica Lewinsky’s detailed account of her relationship with President Bill Clinton—host Robin Roberts declined to bring it up in the interview.
Riley denied that ABC News did not mention the Lewinsky essay at the request of the Clintons. “There were no restrictions, and Robin was free to ask whatever she wanted,” Riley told the New York Daily News. “Having prepared a question on Monica, as the live interview unfolded with the former secretary of state, Robin made the decision to focus on Benghazi and the kidnapping of hundreds of young schoolgirls in Nigeria.”
The Free Beacon contacted ABC News on Wednesday afternoon to request comment on George Stephanopoulos’s previously undisclosed donations to the Clinton Foundation. Riley emailed later that night: “I was just forwarded your email about George.I’m going to send you something…Want to make sure you get it in time.”
Riley later told the Free Beacon she would talk to Stephanopoulos and deliver a statement by 7 a.m. Thursday morning. The statement did not arrive until 9:40 a.m., about 15 minutes after POLITICO published its “scoop” about the donations. “Here you go,” Riley wrote in the email.
Riley did not return a request for comment from the Free Beacon but check Dylan Byers’ blog in a few minutes to see if she responds.