Liz MacDonald

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For the Coronation Street character, see Liz McDonald.
Elizabeth MacDonald
Born (1962-01-02) January 2, 1962 (age 54)
Rockville Centre, NY
Residence New York
Education Canisius College
Occupation Journalist

Elizabeth MacDonald is a veteran business journalist, author, and is the senior stocks editor for Fox Business and Fox News (where she is fondly referred to as "Emac"). MacDonald has also covered the markets, corporate accounting scandals, taxes and the IRS for the Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine, where she created Forbes' top-rated annual ranking, "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women," widely read around the world. MacDonald also runs the Business Center desk on the Fox Business show "Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo", is a regular on Fox Business's Cavuto, Varney & Co., the Fox News show Forbes on Fox, (a founding panelist), Outnumbered and Red Eye with Tom Shillue. FOX News' Neil Cavuto and Greta Van Susteren have called MacDonald "a true class act" in journalism.

MacDonald's column, Emac's Bottom Line, can be found on both the Fox Business and Fox News websites. MacDonald has been a guest commentator on television and radio both in the U.S. and abroad, and according to her Fox bio has received more than a dozen journalism awards, including the Gerald Loeb award for excellence and the Society of Professional Journalists' excellence in journalism award. Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. has recognized MacDonald as a distinguished alumna; MacDonald graduated with honors in 1984.

MacDonald is also the author of the critically acclaimed historical novel Skirting Heresy: The Life and Times of Margery Kempe (Franciscan Media, June 2014), which Kirkus Reviews praised as a "well-written, elegant, clear, and engaging" work, Bloomberg News said the book is "a work of scholarship and the imagination," RealClearMarkets said the novel is an "engrossing, fascinating book, an important revival of a timeless life story," the National Catholic Reporter said it is "an entertaining" novel written in a "clear, no-nonsense style," and said it is "a highly recommended, fascinating narrative, MacDonald's writing style is crisp and draws the reader deeper into the narrative experience, an excellent resource for any student."

MacDonald has also appeared as a guest on NBC's The Today Show, ABC's World News Tonight, ABC's Nightline, Your World with Neil Cavuto, "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren", "The O'Reilly Factor, CBS This Morning, CNBC's Kudlow & Company with Larry Kudlow, C-SPAN, Court TV as well as radio shows such as ABC News talk radio and NPR.

MacDonald's primary beat is stock market corruption, corporate accounting abuses, the IRS and taxes. Members of the U.S. Congress have noted that an award-winning investigative series about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that MacDonald reported helped lead to broader taxpayer rights and reforms at the agency. It also led to Congress calling MacDonald in to testify about IRS abuses of taxpayers as well as IRS reforms. MacDonald also was one of the first journalists in the country to sound the alarm about the coming wave of corporate accounting scandals in the mid to late '90s while at the Wall Street Journal.

MacDonald's scoops range from stories about the government's historic bailout of Wall Street, the collapse of Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros., AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Citigroup and Bank of America, executive compensation scandals, and the abuse of taxpayer funds in Washington. MacDonald has also covered behind-the-scenes bailout controversies at the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve, and recently broke news about SeaWorld's accounting scams to cover up earnings problems as the fallout of its abuses of Orca whales, the subject of the documentary film Blackfish. MacDonald also broke news on the devastating impact of super storm Sandy on New York and New Jersey.

MacDonald's IRS coverage included breaking news on the Kennedys' secret IRS audits of its political enemies, including the news that under the Kennedy Administration the IRS audited Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's group Fair Play for Cuba Committee. MacDonald also broke the news on the Church of Scientology's secret deal with the IRS to become a world religion, as well as Congressional abuses of the IRS, and President George H.W. Bush's secret fight with the agency. In 1986, MacDonald took a backwater beat virtually no journalist was covering, the IRS, and has said on camera: "I spent a lot of time in lonely, near empty Congressional hearing rooms in the '80s and '90s listening to IRS officials testify."


MacDonald has appeared on t.v. alongside former presidential candidates, Congressmen and Senators, as well as notables such as Pat Buchanan, Ben Stein, Robert Reich, Art Laffer, Stephen Moore, Steve Forbes, energy expert Daniel Yergin, president of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, and Adam Posen, co-author with Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Frederic Mishkin of a book about inflation-targeting.

Print journalism[edit]

While at the Wall Street Journal, MacDonald delivered front-page stories, Heard on the Street columns, editorials, Economic Outlook columns, and broke news in the late '90s about the first wave of corporate accounting abuses, as well as scoops on corruption in the accounting industry.

MacDonald also delivered for The Wall Street Journal the story, based on Freedom of Information Act filings, about the Kennedy Administration's secret IRS program to audit its political enemies, a program that eventually resulted in the IRS audits of more than 10,000 groups under the auspices of tax-exempt code violations.[1]

MacDonald’s story reported that the IRS under the Kennedy administration audited Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's group, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. And MacDonald's story reported that the Kennedys' IRS dragnet targeted for audits non-partisan groups, such as B'nai B'rith, the Daughters of Zion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, in a bid to not appear politically biased, according to the article's quotes from Kennedy's IRS commissioner Mortimer Caplin.

MacDonald also delivered the scoop for The Wall Street Journal on the secret details of the historic settlement between the Church of Scientology and the IRS that finally established the group as a world religion and gave Scientology nonprofit status, after a fight lasting nearly three decades.[2]

Prior to The Wall Street Journal, MacDonald was the financial editor and wrote cover stories for Worth and covered the IRS and taxes for Money.

At Money, MacDonald reported an award-winning investigative series on widespread IRS abuses of taxpayers, which members of the U.S. Congress have subsequently noted helped lead to improved taxpayer rights and reforms at the agency.[3]

MacDonald also delivered the scoop on the secret fight between President George H. W. Bush and the IRS over his state residency status (Bush had declared Maine, the IRS, Washington, D.C.). After the IRS ruled his residency was D.C., the former president rented a room at The Houstonian, a Houston, Texas hotel, calling it his primary residence[4]—a move that also helped garner Texas's electoral college votes.

MacDonald's story reported that the move let the president avoid Maine and District of Columbia taxes. MacDonald's story also provided grist for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign stump speeches and for editorials and political cartoons nationwide, including Doonesbury.

And MacDonald broke the news on Congress’s own personal IRS office on Capitol Hill, where members of Congress got the IRS's personal help in preparing their individual tax returns under the tax laws they write.[5]


MacDonald graduated with a B.A. with honors from Canisius College in 1984.


  1. ^ The Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1997, "The Kennedys and the IRS"
  2. ^ The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 30, 1997, "Scientologists and IRS Settled for $12.5 million"
  3. ^ MONEY Magazine, April 1990, "IRS Mess"; MONEY Magazine, June 1990, "Horribly Out of Control"; MONEY Magazine, October 1990, "Presumed Guilty by the IRS"; MONEY Magazine, April 1991, "Who Cheats on Their Income Taxes"; MONEY Magazine, August 1994, "How the IRS Targets You"
  4. ^ MONEY Magazine, January 1992, "How President Bush Cuts His Taxes"
  5. ^ MONEY Magazine, April 1993, "How Congress Does Its Taxes"

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