Former Fox News star turned social media vlogger Tucker Carlson was quietly removed from the board of the media organization he co-founded in 2011—The Daily Caller—where he’d held a chair position for more than a decade, according to a previously unreported tax filing.
Carlson seems to have disappeared from the board of The Daily Caller News Foundation sometime in 2022, according to tax documents that the group recently filed with the state of New Mexico. But the precise timing is unclear. Given the tumultuous year for Carlson—who was fired from his primetime position at Fox News in late April amid a cascade of propaganda, lies, hateful vitriol, multiple lawsuits, and internal disputes—the timing could be critical.
For whatever reason, both Carlson and The Daily Caller have kept the move a secret until now.
When the nonprofit submitted its annual registration with the state on Dec. 7, 2022, Carlson was listed as a director. But his name was not included in the annual registration the group filed earlier this month, nor was he listed among the board members on the 2022 tax return that the nonprofit submitted this September.
This year’s annual tax filings also disclosed that, in June 2022, the Biden administration forgave in full the second of the foundation’s two Paycheck Protection Program loans. The loans were taken out in 2020 and 2021, both for $306,707, and the first was forgiven the day after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The Daily Caller website took out another $407,525 in 2020, which was also forgiven the day after the attack. (Two months after the second loan was forgiven in 2022, The Daily Caller published an aggregated article titled, “These Top Celebrities Took Advantage Of PPP Loans In Spite Of Their Wealth.”)
Reached for comment, Carlson didn’t comment about being taken off the board and instead tried to belittle The Daily Beast and this reporter.
“You’re still working for The Daily Beast? How old are you?” asked the 54-year-old Carlson, who recently appeared on the Nelk Boys podcast to discuss his zeal for nicotine-salt pouches ahead of a mixed martial arts fight.
Daily Caller chair and co-founder Neil Patel, who has been on the board with Carlson from the get-go, told The Daily Beast in a statement that Carlson was too “busy” for his five-hour-a-week board position and had termed out, without further explanation.
“We love Tucker,” the statement said. “He’s our founder. His board term was up and he’s busy with his new projects, so we moved him to an honorary role.”
That sounds a lot like Carlson’s self-professed status with the organization nearly three years ago, when Carlson first announced that he would be leaving The Daily Caller and selling his stake in the website.
At the time, Carlson claimed he was “too absorbed” in his Fox program to juggle his responsibilities with the Caller. But as The Daily Beast reported last year, the foundation still listed Carlson as its chairman that year, as well as the next, while putting in the same hours as he had all the previous years—a grueling five per week.
The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) is a nonprofit that subsidizes the conservative Daily Caller website, which Carlson and Patel co-founded a few years earlier.
Last year, The Daily Beast reported that the DCNF revealed the names of its donors in a tax filing, in the process opening a slew of conflicts of interest between the group’s corporate backers and its content.
The group didn’t repeat that in this year’s filing, which was prepared by a different accountant. However, its registration statement this year revealed financial support from six nonprofits over the course of 2022—something the group did not receive last year.
Those nonprofits—which all lean conservative or libertarian—were the Searle Freedom Trust, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Triad Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Randolph Foundation, the Armstrong Foundation, and the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. The statement did not disclose how much the groups had contributed.
Many media companies draw support from nonprofits, but The Daily Caller and the DCNF have a unique relationship. Thanks to the foundation’s non-profit status, the DCNF can cover publication costs as well as the production of the actual content—with a built-in tax break.
While the foundation says its foremost mission is training young reporters, its staff also generates content, which the foundation hands off to The Daily Caller for free. That content is in theory available for free to any publication, but as The Washington Post reported in 2017, The Daily Caller was practically the only outlet that took advantage of the offer. And a report from the Center for Media and Democracy the same year found that the converse was also true—The Daily Caller published “virtually everything” the nonprofit churned out.