Ben Domenech

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Ben Domenech
Ben Domenech by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Domenech in February 2018
Born (1982-01-01) January 1, 1982 (age 36)
Jackson, South Carolina, U.S.
OccupationPolitical commentator
Meghan McCain (m. 2017)
Parent(s)Douglas Domenech
Jeanne Schram

Ben Domenech (born January 1, 1982)[1] is an American conservative writer, blogger, and television commentator. He is the founder and the publisher of The Federalist, host of The Federalist Radio Hour, and writes The Transom, a daily subscription newsletter for political insiders. He also co-founded the RedState group blog.[2]

He is the former managing editor for health care policy at The Heartland Institute and former editor-in-chief of The City. He created and hosted a daily free market podcast, Coffee and Markets, until 2014.[3][4][5][6] In 2006, Domenech was hired as a blogger by The Washington Post, but resigned three days later after accusations of plagiarism in prior work.[7]

Early life[edit]

Domenech was born in Jackson, South Carolina and raised in Charleston, South Carolina.[8]


Domenech's career in punditry began as a teenager when he began a column, Any Given Sunday, for National Review Online (NRO), in addition to his personal blog.[9]

The NRO column recapped political talk shows on television. "If there was a Top 10 list of young Loudoun County people to watch, he'd be on it," a Washington Post reporter wrote in a Loudoun County regional section of the paper. "Domenech is a sharp writer with an obvious command of his national politics beat—especially considering that this is the first year he is eligible to vote".[10]

He attended the College of William and Mary between 1999 and 2002. After receiving a job offer from the US Department of Health and Human Services, he left William and Mary before his senior year. Domenech was the youngest political appointee of the George W. Bush administration. He worked as a speechwriter for Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

He worked as contributing editor for National Review Online; two years as the chief speechwriter for Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX); and an editor at Regnery Publishing, where he worked on books by Michelle Malkin, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Hugh Hewitt.[11]

In March 2006, Domenech was named as a blogger for The Washington Post, where he would write from the conservative point of view. But only three days after his appointment, on March 21, 2006, Domenech resigned his position, when evidence surfaced that he had earlier plagiarized work that had originally appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, the National Review, and other publications. The Post said it did not know about his plagiarism when the newspaper hired him. Jim Brady, the-then executive editor of, said he would have fired Domenech had he not first offered to quit, because the allegations of plagiarism made it necessary to "sever the relationship."[7]

During the 2008 election, Domenech wrote numerous columns for Human Events[12] and for The Washington Times.[13][14][15][16] During the 2012 election, Domenech commented extensively on social and economic issues related to Occupy Wall Street for the Heritage Foundation.[17][18]

He took part in the American Enterprise Institute's roundtable "Fusion or Fissures" regarding the future of American Conservatism.[19] After Mitt Romney's failed campaign in the 2012 presidential election, Domenech was called upon to discuss the Republican Party's failure to breach the "Digital Divide" for Commentary as well as the Heritage Foundation.[20][21]

Domenech was the managing editor of healthcare policy at the Heartland Institute.[22]

Domenech also posts on RedState[23] and has a personal blog, "this is an adventure".

Personal life[edit]

Domenech is of Puerto Rican and Dutch-Irish descent.

He became engaged in July 2017 to Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Senator John McCain.[24] They were married on November 21, 2017.[25]



Domenech was hired by the Washington Post's online arm to write a blog providing "a daily mix of commentary, analysis and cultural criticism".[26] Media Matters for America criticized the choice, claiming that "[t]here [were], however, no progressive bloggers—and no one left of center with the credentials of a political operative—on to provide balance to Domenech."[27] Instapundit founder Glenn Reynolds told the New York Times that Domenech's appointment attracted anger "because he was a conservative and he was given real estate at The Washington Post" and this spurred bloggers to find "something they could use to get rid of him."[7]

Red America launched on March 21, 2006, but Domenech resigned three days later after only six posts, after other bloggers posted evidence that Domenech had plagiarized work from the Washington Post, The New Yorker, humorist P. J. O'Rourke, and several other writers. O'Rourke denied Domenech's claim that the humorist had granted permission to use his words, adding that he could not recall ever meeting the college student.[7] Editors for Domenech's college newspaper, The Flat Hat, denied allegations by Domenech that one instance of plagiarism was because the editors had "inserted a passage from The New Yorker in an article without his knowledge," saying that "Mr. Domenech's actions, if true, [were] deeply offensive."[28] On March 24, 2006, the editors of National Review confirmed on its blog The Corner[29] that Domenech appeared to have plagiarized for at least one article he had written for that publication. Washington Post online editor Jim Brady announced Domenech's resignation saying "[a]n investigation into these allegations [of plagiarism] was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately."[30]

After initially denying the plagiarism allegations, Domenech apologized, writing in a RedState post entitled "Contrition," that "[t]here is no excuse for this.... I hope that nothing I've done as a teenager or in my professional life will reflect badly on the movement and principles I believe in."[31]

Other controversies[edit]

In a 2010 post written for CBS, Domenech wrongly described Supreme Court Justice nominee Elena Kagan as potentially the “first openly gay justice.” He later added an addendum stating, “I have to correct my text here to say that Kagan is apparently still closeted — odd, because her female partner is rather well known in Harvard circles.”[32] In fact, however, numerous reports confirmed that Kagan was not gay, forcing Domenech to issue a public apology to Kagan “if she is offended at all by my repetition of a Harvard rumor in a speculative blog post.”[33]

In 2013, Domenech was involved in a journalism scandal that resulted in the removal of his work from The Washington Examiner and The Huffington Post when it was disclosed that Domenech received $36,000 from Joshua Trevino, a conservative pundit and lobbyist, to write favorable opinion pieces about the government of Malaysia without disclosing the relationship. The payments came to light when Trevino registered as a foreign agent of the Malaysian government, and disclosed that Domenech was one of several young conservative writers who wrote articles favorable to the Malyasian regime to bolster its image in conservative media. [34]

After disclosure of the payments, The Washington Examiner and The San Francisco Examiner removed Domenech's posts from their websites and replaced it with an editors' note saying that "the author of this item presented content for which, unbeknownst to us, and in violation of our standards, had received payment from a third party mentioned therein—a payment which he also failed to disclose." The Washington Examiner owned The San Francisco Examiner at the time and content was shared.[34]

In July 2018, on the day that the Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election indicted 12 Russian agents, Domenech spread information from a hoax version of the indictment documents. Domenech said that "Much of it [the indictment] is taken up by the numbers of times that people were posting memes on the internet," referring to a hoax that the indictment charged the 12 Russians with "shitposting" and using memes.[35][36]

The Federalist[edit]

In September 2013, Domenech launched a web magazine called The Federalist, covering politics, policy, and culture.[6][37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About". Ben Domench Facebook page. Retrieved November 22, 2017. Born on 1 January 1982
  2. ^ "About". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  3. ^ "Coffee and Markets"
  4. ^ The City website, About
  5. ^ The City, Winter 2011, p. 2
  6. ^ a b Domenech, Ben (2013-09-18). "Introducing The Federalist". Retrieved 2014-09-26.
  7. ^ a b c d New York Times online, Washington Post Blogger Quits After Plagiarism Accusations, Julie Bosman, March 25, 2006. The Times article quotes O'Rourke as saying, "I wouldn't want to swear in a court of law that I never met the guy," adding "but I didn't give him permission to use my words under his byline, no".
  8. ^ Domenech, Ben [@bdomenech] (August 13, 2017). "Oh I dunno I was born in Jackson grew up in Charleston..." (Tweet). Retrieved November 22, 2017 – via Twitter.
  9. ^ "About Ben Domenech". Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  10. ^ [1]"An Early Eye for Political Punditry: Teenager's Pointed Views Play in Conservative Circles", The Washington Post, Loudoun County Extra, May 7, 2000, accessed August 30, 2007.
  11. ^ Red America blog bio on Domenech Archived March 22, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. The bio states "After 9/11, he abandoned the journalism field for a taxpayer-funded life and was sworn in as a political appointee of President George W. Bush".
  12. ^ Ben Domenech archive on Human Events Archived May 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Sacrificing For Freedom" The Washington Times
  14. ^ "Conservative Seeds of Destruction" The Washington Times
  15. ^ "Conservatives to Obamacons" The Washington Times
  16. ^ "Evolving Standards" The Washington Times
  17. ^ Bluey, Rob. "The Occupy Movement: A Post-Mortem?". Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  18. ^ Bluey, Rob. "Occupy Wall Street: Why Conservatives Shouldn't Ignore the Persuadables". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  19. ^ "Fusion or fissures: The future of a conservative governing coalition". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  20. ^ Domenech, Ben. "The GOP's Broken Machine". Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  21. ^ Bluey, Rob. "Overcoming the Digital Divide: What Conservatives Must Do to Win". Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  22. ^ "The Media's "Republicans Have No Obamacare Replacement Myth"". Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
  24. ^ (2 November 2017), he was twice married and divorced. Meghan McCain got engaged at the Mayo Clinic, Page Six
  25. ^ Triggs, Charlotte. "Meghan McCain and Ben Domenech Are Married". People. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  26. ^ Blog on Washington Post Archived March 24, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ Media Matters for America Wash. Post starts Red America conservative blog. March 21, 2006.
  28. ^ New York Times online
  29. ^ National Review confirms plagiarism
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-23. Retrieved 2010-05-23. Ben Domenech Resigns
  31. ^ Contrition Archived December 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ Lat, David (12 May 2010). "It's Official: Elena Kagan Is Straight!". Above the Law. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  33. ^ "Elena Kagan Gay Rumor: White House Upset Over CBS News Blog". HuffPost. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  34. ^ a b Gray, Rosie (1 March 2013). "Covert Malaysian Campaign Touched A Wide Range Of American Media". Retrieved 4 March 2013."Editor's Note- The search for moderate Muslims". Washington Examiner. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.Weinger, Mcckenzie (1 March 2013). "Joshua Trevino's Malay payday". Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  35. ^ Sung, Morgan. "People are falling for a fake Mueller indictment citing the 'international meme community'". Mashable. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  36. ^ "Week In Politics: 12 Russian Cyberspies Charged With Attack On 2016 Election". Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  37. ^ Brinker, Luke (2014-04-02). "Introducing The Federalist, A New Web Magazine For Anti-LGBT Conservatives". (Blog). Media Matters for America. Retrieved 2014-09-27.

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