Debra J. Saunders

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Debra J. Saunders is a nationally syndicated conservative U.S. columnist and global warming doubter whose early career included employment at two Republican political advocacy firms. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle since 1992 and her column has been published in a range of other mainstream publications and conservative websites.


Debra Saunders is married to Wesley J. Smith, a Senior Fellow (or "senior fellow on animal-rights issues"[1]) at the Discovery Institute (D.I.)[2], a think tank and conservative political, policy, economic, religious and industry lobbying organization best known as the driving force behind the Intelligent design movement.

According to, Saunders graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts in 1980 with a BA in Greek and Latin.[3]

She was employed as a writer, researcher and account executive for Sacramento Republican political advocacy firm Russo Watts & Rollins between 1985-1986[4], and Todd Domke Associates, a Republican consulting firm in Boston[3]. She participated in U.S. senate and congressional races elections with both firms. She also worked for the Republican leader of the California assembly.[3] She was a columnist with the Los Angeles Daily News between 1988 and 1992.[4]

Animal rights

The SourceWatch page Debra Saunders/Animal rights documents attacks on animal rights activism that Saunders - whose husband is "a senior fellow on animal-rights issues" at the Discovery Institute[5] - has made in her column.

Saunders' columns addressing issues which overlap with the Discovery Institute's agenda have sometimes[6] - but not always [7], [8] - disclosed her relationship with Smith and his role with D.I.

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. Debra J. Saunders, Better Dead than Fed, Discovery Institute, June 2005
  2. Bioethics, Discovery Institute, accessed December 2008
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Author unknown (Undated). Debra Saunders. GOPUSA. Retrieved on 2010-11-30. “Saunders' political experience includes stints working as a writer/researcher and account executive for Russo Watts & Rollins in Sacramento, Calif., and Todd Domke Associates in Boston. With both organizations, her political work included research, issues strategy and advertising in U.S. Senate and congressional races. In addition, Saunders also worked for the Republican leader of the California Assembly. In 1992, Saunders taught a course in editorial and column writing at UCLA Extension, and led a study group on political speechmaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1984. In 1980, Saunders graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts at Boston with a B.A. in Greek and Latin.”
  4. 4.0 4.1 Author unknown (Date unknown). San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2010-11-30. “Education: Massachusetts 1980 BA; Career: Account Executive, Russo Watts & Rollins (1985-1986); Columnist, Los Angeles Daily News (1988- 1992)”
  5. Debra J. Saunders, Better Dead than Fed, Discovery Institute, June 2005
  6. Debra J. Saunders (2005-06-23). Better dead than fed, PETA says. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2010-11-30. “Note to readers: My husband, Wesley J. Smith, is a senior fellow on animal-rights issues at the Discovery Institute.”
  7. Debra J. Saunders "Reject foie gras jihadists", San Francisco Chronicle, Sept 2003
  8. Wesley J. Smith (2002-07-16). Brave New Clarity. National Review Online. Retrieved on 2010-11-30. “[note date of July 2002] Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute...”

External resources