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Pro Publica, Inc.

Pro Publica, Inc.
One Exchange Plaza, 23rd Fl
New York, NY 10006
a 501(c)(3) investigative journalism organization
http://www.propublica.org/
Phone: (212) 514-5250
EIN:
14-2007220
Founded: 2007
Exempt since:
2008

Self Description: ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with "moral force." We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.

Actual: Under control of billionaire mortgage lender and founding donor Herbert Sandler, a board of directors including the Pew Charitable Trusts, and a manager from the Rockefeller Foundation - as independent as a lapdog on a leash with allegiances sworn in advance to left-wing causes.

Creator:
Herbert M. Sandler

Pro Publica ("For the Public" in Latin) is the creation of partisan Democrat contributors Herbert M. Sandler and Marion O. Sandler, the former chief executives of the Golden West Financial Corporation, based in California, which was one of the nationís largest mortgage lenders and savings and loans. They have committed $10 million a year to the project, while various foundations have provided smaller amounts. Mr. Sandler serves as chairman of Pro Publica. Mrs. Sandler is not involved except as a donor.

Golden West Financial, which operated branches under the name World Savings Bank with over $125 billion in assets and 11,600 employees, was the second largest savings and loan in the United States, and was bought by Wachovia for $25.5 billion on May 7, 2006, giving Wachovia an additional 285-branch network spanning 10 states, including California, where Golden West held $32 billion in deposits and operated 123 branches. The Sandlers remain on the board at Wachovia.

The Sandlers are credited with the invention of the "Pick-A-Pay" mortgage that allowed borrowers to pay less than the interest due on their loan each month -- which increased the total amount owed by the borrower. Analysts place the blame on the near failure of Wachovia in the fall of 2008 on the "Pick-A-Pay" mortgage portfolio Wachovia acquired from the Sandler's Golden West Financial. Some have accused the Sandlers of hypocrisy for denouncing predatory lenders and the poor underwriting practices of other lenders.

The Sandlers were the primary funders of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank and activist organization run by John Podesta, Barack Obama's transition team leader, who previously served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. In 2004, the Sandlers, along with Democratic donors George Soros and Peter Lewis established America Votes "to coordinate various get-out-the-vote drives during the 2004 election." Marion Sandler sits on the board of directors of Podesta's Center for American Progress.

The Sandlers also fund:

  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Turtle Island Restoration Network (de-developing America)
  • National Environmental Trust (green public relations firm)
  • Moveon.org
  • America Votes
  • ACORN
  • Center for American Progress
  • Human Rights Watch
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Foundation for National Progress (publisher of Mother Jones)
  • People for the American Way Foundation

Full story in Ron Arnold's Freezing in the Dark.

Slate journalist Jack Shafer raised questions about Pro Publica's ability to provide independent nonpartisan journalism given the nature of Sandler's other political donations which include "giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic Party campaigns." The concern was borne out in a vicious December 2008 attack on natural gas drilling that followed the Democrat no-American-energy agenda.

President and Editor In Chief:
Paul Ernest Steiger

The Sandlers recruited the best credibility money could buy in hiring one of the country's pre-eminent journalists, Paul E. Steiger, former managing editor and editor-at-large of The Wall Street Journal, offering him leadership of a newsroom in New York of 24 full-time reporters and editors, beginning in January 2008. Steiger said Pro Publica would do "Stories which have moral force, stories that are important to the sustainability of a democracy," he says, "those are the stories I hope we will be doing." Whatever he meant by "moral," Steiger has been an obedient lapdog for his ultra-rich, ultra-liberal board of directors.

 

Pro Publica Inc.  financial condition 2007

 Revenue     Expenses
Contributions $1,450,000
Government Grants $0
Program Services $0
Investments $89
Special Events $0
Sales $0
Other $0

 

Program Services $0
Administration $84,566
Other $0
Total Expenditures $184,566
Total Revenue $1,450,089   NET GAIN/LOSS $1,365,523

Pro Publica, Inc.  Officers and Directors  2008

Name Title Compensation
ALBERTO IBARGUEN DIRECTOR $0
PAUL E. STEIGER PRESIDENT & EDITOR IN CHIEF $0
REBECCA RIMEL DIRECTOR $0
HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. DIRECTOR $0
HERBERT M. SANDLER CHAIRMAN $0
JAMES A. LEACH DIRECTOR $0
RICHARD TOFEL TREASURER, SECRETARY & GENERAL MANAGER $0

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?

Name Interlocking Directorates

ALBERTO IBARGUEN
President, CEO and Trustee, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Inc.
President, The Miami Herald Charities, Inc.
Trustee,
Alliance For Ethical Government Inc

PAUL E. STEIGER
Director, Committee to Protect Journalists, Inc.

REBECCA RIMEL
President and CEO, Pew Charitable Trusts
Board Member, Fund for the Capitol Visitor Center

HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.
African-American literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, and public intellectual. Gates is a Professor at Harvard University, where he is Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Serves on 16 boards of directors.

HERBERT M. SANDLER
President, Director, Sandler Family Supporting Foundation
Trustee, Neighborhood Housing Services of America

JAMES A. LEACH
U.S. Representative (Republican, Iowa, 1977-2007)
Professor of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University
Vice-Chairman, The Century Foundation, Inc.
Trustee, Charles F. Kettering Foundation
Director, Churches Center for Theology and Public Policy

RICHARD TOFEL
President and COO, The Friends Of The International Freedom Center
Vice President, General Counsel, Rockefeller Foundation
F
ormer assistant publisher, Wall Street Journal
Former vice president, assistant general counsel, Dow Jones and Company.

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