An email released by WikiLeaks from the Texas Tribune to a person at the Democratic National Committee sparked controversy on Monday. Some interpreted the email as being an acknowledgement of a gift from the national party to the media outlet.
Several Twitter users tweeted out the alarm that the Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news organization based in Austin, Texas, was receiving donations from the Democratic National Committee and that perhaps those mones were influencing the organization’s coverage of the presidential election.
— Brittany Pettibone (@BrittPettibone) November 7, 2016
— U235SwampRemover (@avanconia) November 7, 2016
— Linda Rockers (@LindaRockers) November 7, 2016
Breitbart Texas spoke with Texas Tribune Founder and CEO Evan Smith on Monday about the email in question.
“When I first saw the email, I thought it might be a membership gift from a specific person,” Smith said. “It turns out it wasn’t even that.”
Smith said the email was simply a message sent to 54,000 people on their email list reminding them about the organization’s spring membership drive. He confirmed that it was an email sent from his organization to that person. He also said it was not an acknowledgement of a financial contribution.
He said he had his team search the database for any donations from firstname.lastname@example.org or any other person from the DNC or RNC. After researching the matter, Smith said the Texas Tribune has not received any institutional donations from the DNC or RNC, nor do they have any donations from any individual with a DNC or RNC email address.
He explained that the person was in their email list because they had apparently made an email subscription to one of their news email services and that no donations had been received from that person.
Breitbart Texas sent an email inquiry to the Texas Tribune on Monday morning and Mr. Smith responded promptly to the inquiry about the WikiLeaks document.