Republic Affairs (Defending Democracy Together Institute)



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $2,889,681
Expenses: $1,630,169
Assets: $3,037,126


August 2018

Board Chair:

William “Bill” Kristol


The Bulwark

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Republic Affairs (formerly known as the Defending Democracy Together Institute 1) is a right-leaning advocacy group and website publisher founded in Washington, D.C., in August 2018. Republic Affairs publishes the Bulwark, a news and editorial website whose editor-in-chief, former talk radio host Charlie Sykes, serves as president of the organization.2 Donors Trust, a center-right donor-advised fund provider which handled a contribution from the center-left Hewlett Foundation directed to the organization, called it a “nonprofit dedicated to incubating and assembling pro-democracy voices. . . created by conservatives uncomfortable with the flamboyant rhetoric that can come from President Trump.”3

Its 501(c)(4) counterpart, Defending Democracy Together, has taken positions in opposition to a number of initiatives by President Donald Trump, often through its project, Republicans for the Rule of Law. Most prominently, it has supported continuing birthright citizenship and strongly supported the Justice Department investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.4 5 6


Former Weekly Standard editor William Kristol founded Republic Affairs, then named Defending Democracy Together Institute, in 2018. After Clarity Media, the Standard’s corporate parent, closed the magazine in December of that year, a number of former staffers (most prominently podcaster and former radio host Charlie Sykes) joined the organization to produce original content for the Bulwark, a news and commentary website which is Republic Affairs’ flagship project.7

McKay Coppins of the Atlantic reported that Bulwark editor-in-chief and DDTI president Sykes said that the Bulwark will target a number of right-leaning figures who “still have a veneer of respectability” whom Sykes considers too close to President Donald Trump or the Trump administration’s agenda.8

According to the Bulwark’s website, the group was founded to “provide a voice for non-Trumpian conservatives.” The website has accused the conservative movement of “being driven by grifters and mountebanks into a dark hole of nativism, protectionism, isolationism, and fabulism.” It also accuses President Trump of being “a serial liar, a narcissist and a bully, a con man who mocks the disabled and women, a man with no fixed principles who has the vocabulary of an emotionally insecure 9-year-old.” 9


Because Kristol formed Republic Affairs in mid-2018, public tax returns are unavailable for the organization as of early 2019. The left-leaning William and Flora Hewlett Foundation reported making a contribution to Republic Affairs in September 2018; the grant was paid to Republic Affairs through DonorsTrust, a right-of-center donor-advised fund provider. 10 In 2019, Republic Affairs (then DDTI) received $150,000 from the left-of-center William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. 11

The organization’s 501(c)(4) advocacy counterpart, Defending Democracy Together, has been criticized for accepting at least $600,000 in two grants from Democracy Fund Voice, a 501(c)(4) group created and funded by left-wing mega-donor Pierre Omidyar. 12 According to Democracy Fund Voice’s website, in May 2018 it “approved two grants to Defending Democracy Together: first in the amount of up to $100,000 over one year and then in the amount of up to $500,000 over one year,” with specific mention of DDT’s Republicans for the Rule of Law project.13

As of January 2020, however, Democracy Fund Voice’s website notes that it awarded up to $1.6 million in grants to DDT in 2018. 14

Leadership and Key Staff

Board of Directors

According to its incorporation filing, Republic Affairs’ board of directors consists of Bill Kristol, Charlie Sykes, and Sarah Longwell. 15

Daniel Stid

As of January 2023, Daniel Stid has been working for Republic Affairs as a Senior Fellow and Advisor, a position he has held since May 2022. He previously worked at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, from 2013 through 2022, as the director of several of its programs including the Madison Initiative (from 2014 through 2020), which the Foundation used to research ways of strengthening U.S democratic institutions. 16 17


  1. Longwell Partners, Inc. “Strategist Behind Republicans for the Rule of Law and The Bulwark, Launches New Communications Firm.” PR Newswire: press release distribution, targeting, monitoring and marketing, December 3, 2019.
  2. “About Us.” The Bulwark. Accessed March 04, 2019.
  3. Lawson Bader. “DonorsTrust Grows Liberty Beyond Grant-Making.” DonorsTrust. November 1, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018.
  4. “Republican Immigration Group Defends Birthright Citizenship.” Press Release, Defending Democracy Together. October 30, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018.
  5. “Manafort Conviction Proves Mueller Investigation is not a Witch Hunt.” Press Release, Defending Democracy Together. August 21, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018.
  6. “New Republican Group Launches Pro-Mueller Campaign.” Press Release, Defending Democracy Together. April 11, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018.
  7. DeRensis, Hunter. “Does The Bulwark Mean the Neocons Are Staging A Comeback?” The National Interest. January 09, 2019. Accessed March 04, 2019.
  8. Coppins, McKay. “Naming and Shaming the Pro-Trump Elite.” The Atlantic. February 22, 2019. Accessed March 04, 2019.
  9. “About Us.” The Bulwark. Accessed March 6, 2019.
  10. “Grant: Donors Trust Inc. – For support of the Defending Democracy Together Institute.” Hewlett Foundation. September 19, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018.; Screenshot:  
  11. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990-PF). William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. 2019. Schedule I. Archived:
  12. Julie Kelly. “NeverTrump’s Billionaire Leftist Benefactors.” American Greatness. November 14, 2018. Accessed January 8, 2020.
  13. “Grants: Defending Democracy Together.” Democracy Fund Voice. May 3, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018.; Screenshot: Archived page:
  14. Defending Democracy Together. Democracy Fund Voice. Accessed January 8, 2020. See screenshot:
  15. “Defending Democracy Together Institute – Initial File Number: N00006054804.” Washington, D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Accessed November 19, 2018.
  16. Daniel Stid. LinkedIn, Accessed January 9, 2023.
  17. “Hewlett Foundation Launches $50 million Madison Initiative.” The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, July 8, 2014.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Sarah Longwell
    Board Member
  2. Charlie Sykes
    Board Member, Editor-in-Chief (The Bulwark)
  3. William Kristol
    Board Member
  4. Ian Bassin
    "The Bulwark" Podcast Guest

Child Organizations

  1. The Bulwark (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2019

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form 990 $2,889,681 $1,630,169 $3,037,126 $117,513 Y $2,860,157 $0 $217 $209,083
    2019 Dec Form 990 $3,002,248 $1,361,507 $1,738,365 $78,264 Y $2,993,619 $0 $170 $153,600 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $150,200 $130,840 $525,168 $505,808 N $150,200 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Republic Affairs (Defending Democracy Together Institute)

    925 15TH ST NW 5TH FLOOR
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-2303