ProPublica revealed Monday afternoon that Chicago Tribune syndicated columnist and editorial board member Clarence Page was paid $20,000 and travel expenses to appear at a June 23 rally in Paris in support of the Mujahadin-e Khalq (MEK), a controversial Iranian group that’s seeking to be removed from the U.S. government’s list of designated foreign terrorist organizations.
“Page … said he had misgivings soon after arriving at the event, when he realized the scope was more than just a discussion about human rights and fairness toward Iranian exiles, as he previously thought,” reports the Chicago Tribune’s Robert Channick. “He went through with his three-minute speech anyway.”
Channick’s story continues:
Beyond the ramifications of a controversial political association, accepting the engagement was a breach of the Tribune’s code of editorial principles. Although some paid speaking engagements are allowed, all editorial employees need approval before accepting them, Dold said. Page said he took the engagement on his own.
Page says he hasn’t sought editors’ approval for speeches in the last three years; he’s been paid for seven appearances in the past 18 months.
Tribune editor Gerould Kern says in a statement that “we are reviewing all of the circumstances and considering further action” against Page.