Washington Post CEO Has Funneled Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars To Democrats

Patricia Stonesifer, who has praised the Post’s coverage of Trump, sent six-figures to Biden campaign alone

(Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)
June 23, 2023

The Washington Post's new CEO, Amazon board member and former Microsoft executive Patricia Stonesifer, has contributed more than $600,000 to Democrats, campaign finance disclosures reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon show.

Stonesifer has been a prolific donor to Democrats for more than two decades, having first contributed $500 to former Speaker of the House Tom Foley (D., Wash.) in 1993. Stonesifer's status as a prominent liberal donor only grew from there. The Post's new head honcho from 2008 to 2016 combined to give more than $122,000 to Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and Stonesifer in 2020 gave President Joe Biden's campaign and joint fundraising committee more than $100,000. Stonesifer in total has contributed more than $625,000 to Democrats and liberal organizations since 1993, according to an analysis of campaign finance disclosures.

Stonesifer's status as the Post's interim CEO, a role she accepted earlier this month after longtime top executive and publisher Fred Ryan announced his resignation, will likely do little to quash accusations that the newspaper's owner, fellow Democratic donor and billionaire founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos, influences editorial decisions. Stonesifer is a longtime friend of Bezos, having served on Amazon's board since 1997. While Stonesifer told Post employees that she expects her tenure to be short, her mark on the newspaper will be felt for decades, given that Bezos tasked Stonesifer to hire the paper's next publisher and CEO.

"We have a couple really important jobs to fill, starting with the publisher and CEO, and a couple of other big roles," Stonesifer said earlier this month. "There are changes across the organization the last couple of years, and just ensuring the team and the culture are in place for the decade ahead is really the number one goal."

The Post declined to comment on Stonesifer's political contributions. Stonesifer is far from the only Post leader with extensive ties to Democratic politics. In December, the newspaper hired Nike veteran Kathy Baird to serve as its chief communications officer, touting Baird's service on the board of IllumiNative. The nonprofit is a liberal dark money-funded "racial justice organization" that encourages elementary school students to fight for universal health care and other left-wing priorities, the Free Beacon reported in December.

In addition to Stonesifer's staunch support for Obama, Clinton, and Biden, Stonesifer has funneled more than $170,000 to the Democratic National Committee and contributed thousands to prominent Senate Democrats, including John Fetterman (Pa.), John Hickenlooper (Colo.), Jon Ossoff (Ga.), Raphael Warnock (Ga.), and Mark Kelly (Ariz.). Stonesifer has also praised the newspaper's coverage of former president Donald Trump's indictment, saying she is "one of those people who devours the Metro section every morning."

Beyond Stonesifer's status as a major Democratic donor, the new Post CEO is known to rub elbows with the world's wealthiest liberal philanthropists. After working for years as a top-level executive at Microsoft, Stonesifer helped establish the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the largest private philanthropic foundation in the world and routinely funds liberal groups such as Planned Parenthood. In 2009, meanwhile, Stonesifer reportedly attended what NBC News called a "secret meeting" held in New York City among a who's who of the world’s wealthiest individuals. Attendees included Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, Eli Broad, Oprah Winfrey, David Rockefeller Sr., and Ted Turner.

Stonesifer also spent time as the first chair of Obama's White House Council for Community Solutions. Stonesifer claimed Obama nearly picked her to be his domestic policy adviser and said she proudly displayed a portrait of the former president during her time working at a D.C.-based food pantry and family-services nonprofit.

While former Post executive editor Martin Baron has argued that the newspaper has "a very important role in making sure that there is light" on America's government and elected officials, the paper has refrained in recent years from engaging in critical coverage of Biden. Just 100 days into the Democrat's presidency, the Post opted to end its practice of maintaining a database of the president’s false and misleading claims—which it did during the entire four years Trump was in office. The Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, said Biden does not lie enough to warrant the database's existence.