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Politico's new CEO is a big Democratic donor

Politico’s new CEO Patrick Steel was a staffer in former President Bill Clinton’s White House and has been a big-time Democratic donor over the past 20 years, according to OpenSecrets.org. He starts at Politico on May 8. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Politico announced its new CEO this week, and he’s a longtime donor to the Democratic Party who also served under former President Bill Clinton.

On Tuesday, the site named Patrick Steel to replace former CEO and co-founder Jim VandeHei, who left the outlet in 2016. Robert Allbritton, Politico’s owner, and John Harris, the site’s editor-in-chief, said in a memo that Steel will start May 8.

“Patrick understands that the heart and soul — the power — of Politico rests on great, indispensable journalism, and the global impact of our reporting,” the memo stated. “Patrick’s arrival allows us to engage with the big questions — how can we grow a publication that has more impact in more places with more products — for a long time to come.

“His arrival adds unique insight and skills to a leadership team that has taken vast strides over the past year,” the notice continued.

Before joining Politico, Steel spent 16 years at the investment firm FBR Capital Markets & Co. and he served in the Clinton White House for eight years before that, where he held many jobs, including special assistant to the former president and as a deputy director of scheduling, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

In the past several years, Politico’s new CEO has been a big-time donor to the Democrats. According to data compiled by the conservative Media Research Center, Steel has given $64,850 to Democrats and nothing to the Republican Party.

And according to OpenSecrets.org, Steel donated to former President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Politico defended Steel’s past donations in a statement Tuesday to the Washington Examiner.

“It’s true,” a spokesperson for Politico said, “in addition to a successful career in finance, Patrick has extensive experience in politics and government and that breadth of knowledge is a huge plus for Politico.

“Politico is an incredible global brand with a tremendous runway for growth. Patrick’s mission runs counter to ideology. It’s to apply his expertise to seize that opportunity and expand the reach of Politico’s journalism, products, and services,” the spokesperson said.

Politico made headlines last year when it was revealed that its former chief political correspondent Glenn Thrush, who now writes for the New York Times, asked Clinton’s former campaign chairman John Podesta for approval on a story he wrote about the Democrat’s 2016 campaign.

“Because I have become a hack i will send u the whole section that pertains to u,” Thrush wrote in an email to Podesta, according to WikiLeaks. “Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this. Tell me if I f***ed anything up.”

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