The Federalist launched in 2013. We know a handful of details about the publication. We know that it was founded by Sean Davis and Ben Domenech. We know that it is committed to publishing trash takes. But after roughly five years, we still have no idea who or what is providing the financial backing for the conservative outlet. The website has never publicly disclosed this information, though John McIntyre, co-founder of RealClearPolitics.com, appeared in a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities disclosure filed by the website’s parent company, FDRLST Media, to the SEC. He is also a board member.
Still, there is no clear answer to who funds the Federalist, which is particularly thorny question given the site’s demonstrated ethics. Federalist contributors have written about its founder’s wife without disclosing their relationship, downplayed allegations of sexual misconduct toward minors by Roy Moore, and had a tab for articles related to “black crime.” People want to know who is paying other people money to do these things, and thus far the people receiving that money have refused to say where it’s come from.
At Data For Progress, we decided to track the growing calls for transparency from the Federalist on Twitter. After pulling all tweets from the beginning of 2017 containing the words “who funds the Federalist,” a simple trend analysis shows that interest gradually picked up over the course of 2017 and has sustained itself over 2018. Cheri Jacobus, a former GOP consultant, and Ben Collins, a reporter at NBCNews, have gotten the most traction with their calls for transparency.
The calls have mostly focused on Sean Davis and Mollie Hemingway, prominent Federalist writers.
We have provided a Tableau visualization so you can see the tweets for yourself. But the question remains straightforward: Who funds the Federalist?