Downing: ProPublica is a political action committee posing as reportage



ProPublica has launched a partisan “investigation,” this time targeting another conservative U.S. Supreme Court member. 

As if on cue, mainstream media outlets jumped on the bandwagon, relishing in the prospect of free content for their publications – content that undermines conservative jurists, and conservative lawmakers by association. This is purely political payback for the Dobbs decision of 2022.

The latest subject of the nonprofit’s assault is Justice Samuel Alito, author of the Dobbs decision, which sent the question of abortion rights back to the states, since the Constitution does not give that authority to the federal government.

Alito’s so-called transgression? A personal salmon fishing excursion to Alaska in 2008, which, according to ProPublica, was not duly reported in his disclosures. 

This ProPublica trophy is a minnow in the sea of things about which Americans are concerned. It’s dragnet “journalism” reminiscent of ProPublica’s recent attack on Justice Clarence Thomas. In that instance, the political action committee posing as a newsroom attempted to discredit Thomas based on the fact that a friend had purchased Thomas’ elderly mother’s home with plans to transform it into a museum.

With the anniversary of the Dobbs decision approaching, media outlets with a left-leaning bias increasingly utilize ProPublica as a source.

It must be repeated regularly that ProPublica is, at its core, a politically motivated group funded by Democratic billionaires with the clear mission of attacking Republicans. Thanks to the nonprofit’s partisan benefactors, the group has grown from a mere two-person operation in 2007 to over 100 today.

This ProPublica PAC, if we are to be honest about what it is, works hand-in-glove with a media that has not chosen to spend for its own investigative reporting. Theirs is a co-dependent relationship that leaves newsrooms compromised, because they are not looking behind the curtain at the organization providing them with “news.”

Let’s critically examine these ProPublica attacks. In the case of Alito, ProPublica emphatically claims that he failed to report a fishing trip with a billionaire in his annual disclosure form.

An important detail relegated to the end of the story is that another judge had previously sought advice from the Judicial Conference on whether to disclose a similar journey. The verdict was that it wasn’t necessary, as it was a personal trip. Alito was leaning on that decision. Despite changes to the rules since then, Alito was aware of the regulations in 2008 and understood what should and should not be included in his disclosure forms.

Moving on to ProPublica’s description of the “luxury fishing trip,” the King Salmon Lodge, while comfortable and pleasant, is far from opulent. It doesn’t feature a golf course or a day spa; it’s simply a lodge, whose upkeep in the harsh Alaskan environment is a costly endeavor. The rooms are spare, and the decor is woodsy, not ritzy.

The costs associated with running such lodges, in locations where all food and necessities have to be flown in, result in a nightly rate that reflects the high cost of living in Alaska’s wilderness. In four short months, lodge owners must make enough to keep the lodge in working order throughout the long, harsh winter.

Shifting to ProPublica’s ludicrous story about Justice Thomas, the supposed revelation was laughable. Thomas’ 94-year-old mother, who is a descendent of Gullah-Geechee slaves and for whom Gullah was a fist language, resides in a very modest house in Savannah, Georgia. The house and adjacent two lots, the equivalent of a side yard, were sold to a wealthy friend of Thomas’, who ProPublica insistently labels as a “GOP donor,” as if he personally donates to Thomas.

Then, ProPublica claimed that Thomas under-reported the value of the house on his disclosure forms back in 2009, when he valued the house at $15,000. A few years ago he sold the house to Harlan Crow, a friend of his, for $133,000. Thomas’ mom still lives there today.

Real estate values in Savannah have skyrocketed in the past 20 years, making this an underachieving fishing expedition by ProPublica. Thomas, who has been attacked by Democrats since the day of his nomination, merely needs to update his disclosure reports.

Here we have a political effort, paid for by the Democrat donors of ProPublica, to tarnish the reputations of both Thomas and Alito. ProPublica’s focus on their relationships with “GOP donors” and subsequent actions paints a biased picture, and is richly ironic, considering who funds ProPublica’s operation.

It’s time that when Americans speak the word “ProPublica,” they need to add “Democrat Political Action Committee” to the name.

Suzanne Downing is the publisher of Must Read Alaska, which was founded to balance the left-wing reporting in the mainstream media.


  1. They aren’t a PAC. They are a well funded smear machine for the left.

    It really is just that simple.

  2. I don’t care which side of the political spectrum you subscribe to, but I think all can agree that there really needs to be an ethical standard for all judges. From SCOTUS to tribal courts in the middle of Navajo reservations, all judges must avoid any type of impropriety. It doesn’t matter if it was RBG or Thomas or Alito or Sotomayor, all must be held accountable to the highest judicial standards.

    These incidents, whether there was any influence peddling or not, do not look good for Justice Alito or Justice Thomas. The optics don’t look good at all when a billionaire can get a SCOTUS Justice on his private plane and then that same billionaire has business in front of the court.

    These incidents are similar to what is happening in Homer to the retired judge, just the look of her being driven around town by the chief witness in a case she is presiding over is enough to make you think twice about her ethics and judgement.

    Again, it doesn’t really matter whether there was any underhanded things going on, just the appearance of impropriety is enough to question judge’s ethics and personal judgements

  3. Democrats are all too aware that Biden is not going to put a new Justice on the US Supreme Court, while Trump got three. So, Democrats again take whatever low road they can navigate and try to drum up negative sentiment for current conservative Justices. This game plan is all too familiar. Divide, divide, divide. Democrats are such negative little creatures. That’s why they all look older, wrinkled, and sour.

  4. I’ve been calling them ProLeftica ever since they sponsored Kyle Hopkins’ hit-piece on Alaska rural law enforcement that netted him that ill-deserved Pullet Surprise.

  5. Suzanne, that “Democrat Political Action Committee” seems to have been awarded dozens of journalism awards including a number of Pulitzer’s. Just because they don’t support white nationalism doesn’t necessarily make them “hacks.”

    • No, what makes them hacks are their partisan hit jobs on behalf of the Democrats.

      Please share with the class exactly what white nationalism is, where it is, and who practices if. Be very specific.

      • Tucker Carlson, Stephen Miller, Sebastian Gorka, the Proud Boys. Is that specific enough? Masked Avenger, just because you have fathead decals of most of these characters on your bedroom wall doesn’t make them patriots!

  6. Anchorage’s largest print newspaper and the largest television station have significant “partnerships” with ProPublica. If I was involved in these media enterprises, I wouldn’t tell my family.

  7. It’s funny how these junkets were common knowledge for decades, but it only became an issue when the left lost control of the court.

  8. The lying left will not stop. The non profits are all crooks. Tax them and use that revenue to fund an honest media that tells the truth with no agenda.

Comments are closed.