The Washington Post quietly put a reporter on leave after the Washington Free Beacon discovered her attendance at a secretive meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a liberal donor club where members are directed to spend at least $200,000 a piece to advance progressive causes, CNN reported on Thursday.
Janell Ross, a national political reporter who covered the 2016 presidential election for the Post, appears to have initially been put on leave last November after the Free Beacon revealed documents showing she gave a presentation to the Democracy Alliance's fall investment conference, "Beyond #Resistance: Reclaiming Our Progressive Future." Ross briefed the donor conference, attended by liberal billionaires such as George Soros, on "getting the economic narrative right," according to conference documents.
The Post said on Nov. 21 that it first learned about Ross's attendance at the conference from the Free Beacon, and it "reminded" Ross that the paper "discourages participation in any activity that could be perceived as partisan." It also attempted to excuse actions taken by Ross, saying its "understanding is that she was there solely to discuss the subject of a book she is writing independently on economic inequality."
The paper refused to answer whether any disciplinary action was being taken against Ross.
Now nearly two months since the Post learned Ross gave a presentation to the donor conference, CNN reports she has been put on leave and is not expected to return.
"Two people familiar with the matter have told CNN that Ross was put on leave, and that her return to the Post is viewed as unlikely," reports Tom Kludt.
It is unclear when the Post decided to put Ross on leave, but it initially indicated there was no action taken.
The Free Beacon asked the paper on Nov. 28 whether the reason Ross hadn't been published since she attended the Democracy Alliance conference was because of disciplinary action. The Post responded a day later by publishing a piece by Ross, who also briefly returned to tweeting again.
The Post said it was unable to comment on questions into the timeline of its decision on Ross. Emails sent to Ross return a blank automatic reply.
The Democracy Alliance did not respond to a request for comment on the Post's decision to put Ross on leave for participation in its conference. The conference tells attendees they can expect their participation to remain a secret from the public.
"Democracy Alliance conference participants are entitled to the expectation that their conference experience and their identity should remain confidential," it says in participation guidelines distributed to attendees.
The full agenda for the conference can be viewed below.