Larry King and a few other prominent Americans are now on the payroll of a pro-Russian Georgian TV station, BuzzFeed reports. King, along with Council of Foreign Relations President Emeritus Leslie Gelb and retired Congressman Lee Hamilton, have signed on to the advisory board of TV9, which is owned by the wife of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leading challenger of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in the October election. They will be "nominally compensated" for one year of service.
Ivanishvili strongly supports a closer relationship with Russia, where he made quite a bit of his fortune, but insists he is independent and denies ties to the country—which, of course, invaded Georgia in 2008. As for the current president Saakashvili, he's pro-America and has friends in the Republican Party, but some say he provoked the 2008 war, and he's also been accused of human rights abuses. TV9 is meant to "promote media freedom in Georgia," according to another board member, former US ambassador to Morocco Marc Ginsberg. As for King, his rep says he joined the board because "he believes in freedom of speech." (Read more Larry King stories.)