ProPublica was founded with a $10 million annual grant from Herbert and Marion Sandler, the former chief executives of the Golden West Financial Corporation, which was one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders and savings and loans.
Just before the financial crisis, the Sandlers in 2008 sold their business to the Wachovia Corporation for about $26 billion, a deal which valued their personal shares at about $2.4 billion.
The Sandlers are major donors to the Democratic Party and are top funders of ACORN, MoveOn.org, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch and other far-left groups.
The billionaire couple donate major sums to the Center for American Progress think tank, which is reportedly highly influential in helping to craft White House policy.
The center is directed by John Podesta, who served as co-chairman of Obama’s 2008 presidential transition team.
In 2008, the Sandlers were behind two controversial California Political Action Committees, Vote Hope and PowerPac.org, which spent about $5 million in pro-Obama ads in the state. The two groups were run by the Sandler’s son-in-law, Steve Phillips, the former president of the San Francisco School Board.
The journalistic integrity of the Sandler-backed ProPublica has been repeatedly called into question.
A report by the Capital Research Center concluded ProPublica “churns out little more than left-wing hit pieces about Sarah Palin and blames the U.S. government for giving out too little foreign aid.” Slate reporter Jack Shafer raised questions about ProPublica’s ability to provide independent nonpartisan journalism in light of the nature of the Sandlers’ political donations, which include “giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic Party campaigns.”
The watchdog website UndueInfluence.com slammed ProPublica’s claim of independence, stating the site is “as independent as a lapdog on a leash with allegiances sworn in advance to left-wing causes.”
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m. His website is KleinOnline.com.