"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night," Griffin said in a statement Friday. "Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."
Olbermann made campaign contributions of $2,400 — the maximum legal donation — to two Arizona members of Congress, Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords, and failed Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway prior to the election, Olbermann told Politico in a statement.
"I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level," Olbermann said.
NBC and MSNBC policy bars employees from making political donations, considering it a breach of journalistic independence to contribute to candidates they cover.
Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation, will fill in for Olbermann on Friday night's Countdown, according to TheWrap.
An e-mail and call to a Countdown representative for further comment were not immediately returned.