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 37)
EducationGeorge Mason University
College of William and Mary
OccupationPolitical commentator
Meghan McCain (m. 2017)
Parent(s)Douglas Domenech
Jeanne Schram
RelativesJohn McCain (father-in-law)
Cindy McCain (mother-in-law)

Ben Domenech (born January 1, 1982)[1] is an American conservative writer, blogger, and television commentator. He is the co-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 verified 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, Virginia 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 & Mary between 1999 and 2002. After receiving a job offer from the United States 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 the National Review Online; two years as the chief speechwriter for United States Senator 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 Conservatism in the United States.[19] After Mitt Romney's failed campaign in the 2012 United States 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".[24]

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 U.S. Senator John McCain.[25] They were married on November 21, 2017, his third.[26]



Domenech was hired by the Washington Post's online arm to write a blog providing "a daily mix of commentary, analysis and cultural criticism".[27] 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."[28] 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."[7] 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 Malaysian regime to bolster its image in conservative media.[34][35][36]

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]

On February 21, 2018, Domenech sparked outrage after he called survivors of a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a "bunch of idiots".[37] 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.[38][39]

In May 2019, Domenech's wife Meghan McCain appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers, where she and Meyers discussed McCain's accusation that Rep. Ilhan Omar was anti-Semitic. Shortly thereafter, Domenech posted a number of crude tweets targeted at Meyers, accusing him of anti-Semitism and claiming he only hosted Late Night because "he regularly gargled Lorne Michaels' balls." Domenech later deleted his tweets and apologized for "rage tweeting".[40][41]

The Federalist[edit]

In September 2013, Domenech launched a web magazine called The Federalist, covering politics, policy, and culture.[6][42] No one knows who funds the Federalist, and Domenech himself refuses to divulge this information, and regularly blocks anyone who asks about it on social media.


  1. ^ Domench, Ben. "About". Facebook. Retrieved November 22, 2017. Born on 1 January 1982
  2. ^ "About". RedState. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  3. ^ Jackson, Brad (June 13, 2017). "Apple's Spaceship Campus and the Importance of Leadership". Coffee and Markets. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  4. ^ "About". The City. Archived from the original on March 7, 2015.
  5. ^ The City, Winter 2011, p. 2.
  6. ^ a b Domenech, Ben (September 18, 2013). "Introducing The Federalist". Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e Bosman, Julie (March 25, 2006). "Washington Post Blogger Quits After Plagiarism Accusations". The New York Times. Retrieved July 4, 2019. 'I wouldn't want to swear in a court of law that I never met the guy', Mr. O'Rourke said of Mr. Domenech, '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. ^ The Washington Post (May 7, 2000). "An Early Eye for Political Punditry: Teenager's Pointed Views Play in Conservative Circles". Loudoun County Extra. Retrieved August 30, 2007.
  11. ^ "Red America blog bio on Domenech". The Washington Post. March 21, 2006. Archived from the original on March 22, 2006. Retrieved July 4, 2019. 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". Human Events. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011.
  13. ^ Domenech, Ben (December 25, 2008). "Domenech: Sacrificing for freedom". The Washington Times. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  14. ^ Domenech, Ben (June 8, 2008). "Editorial: Conservative seeds of destruction". The Washington Times. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  15. ^ Domenech, Ben (June 13, 2008). "Opinion: Conservatives to Obamacons". The Washington Times. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  16. ^ Domenech, Ben (June 30, 2008). "Op-Ed: America's evolving standards". The Washington Times. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  17. ^ Bluey, Rob. "The Occupy Movement: A Post-Mortem?". Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  18. ^ Domenech, Ben (May 3, 2012). "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". American Enterprise Institute. November 16, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  20. ^ Domenech, Ben (December 2012). "The GOP's Broken Machine". Commentary. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  21. ^ Bluey, Rob (March 25, 2013). "Overcoming the Digital Divide: What Conservatives Must Do to Win". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  22. ^ Domenech, Ben (July 12, 2012). "The Media's "Republicans Have No Obamacare Replacement Myth"". Ricochet. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  23. ^ "Stories by Ben Domenech". RedState. Archived from the original on February 26, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2008.
  24. ^ Domenech, Ben. "About". Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  25. ^ Bacardi, Francesca (November 2, 2017). "Meghan McCain got engaged at the Mayo Clinic". Page Six. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  26. ^ Triggs, Charlotte (November 23, 2017). "Meghan McCain and Ben Domenech Are Married". People. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  27. ^ Straus, Hal (March 21, 2006). "New Blog: Red America". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on March 24, 2006. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  28. ^ Maloy, Simon (March 21, 2006). "Wash. Post starts Red America conservative blog". Media Matters for America. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  29. ^ The Editors (March 24, 2006). "A Message to Our Readers". National Review. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2019.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  30. ^ Brady, Jim (March 24, 2006). "Ben Domenech Resigns". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  31. ^ Domenech, Ben (March 24, 2006). "Contrition". RedState. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  32. ^ Lat, David (May 12, 2010). "It's Official: Elena Kagan Is Straight!". Above the Law. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  33. ^ "Elena Kagan Gay Rumor: White House Upset Over CBS News Blog". HuffPost. June 16, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  34. ^ a b Gray, Rosie (March 1, 2013). "Covert Malaysian Campaign Touched A Wide Range Of American Media". Buzzfeed. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  35. ^ Domenech, Ben (March 1, 2013). "Editor's Note – The search for moderate Muslims". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  36. ^ Weinger, Mackenzie (March 1, 2013). "Joshua Trevino's Malay payday". Politico. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Sung, Morgan (July 14, 2018). "People are falling for a fake Mueller indictment citing the 'international meme community'". Mashable. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  39. ^ "Week In Politics: 12 Russian Cyberspies Charged With Attack On 2016 Election". July 13, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  40. ^ Wilstein, Matt (May 8, 2019). "Meghan McCain's Husband Goes on Unhinged Homophobic Rant Against 'Cuck' Seth Meyers". The Daily Beast. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  41. ^ Butler, Bethonie (May 8, 2019). "Meghan McCain and Seth Meyers sparred over Rep. Ilhan Omar. Then McCain's husband weighed in". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  42. ^ Brinker, Luke (April 2, 2014). "Introducing The Federalist, A New Web Magazine For Anti-LGBT Conservatives". (Blog). Media Matters for America. Retrieved September 27, 2014.

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