Proft was born in 1972 in Oak Park, Illinois. He was raised in Wheaton, Illinois, and attended Benet Academy in Lisle. He graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. and Loyola University Chicago School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree. At Northwestern, Proft co-founded the Northwestern Chronicle, an independent campus newspaper.
Dan Proft co-hosts the morning drive show from 5 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday with Amy Jacobson on AM 560 The Answer in Chicago.
From 2011 to 2015, Proft was a political commentator for WLS-AM 890 radio in Chicago. From 2014-2015, he shared a weekday show from 5 to 9 a.m. with Bruce Wolf. After his contract expired, he moved to AM 560 WIND. He has also appeared on Chicago television including ABC 7 Chicago and Fox Chicago and his commentary has been featured on national outlets including Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNBC.
Proft also works as a Senior Fellow at the Illinois Policy Institute, a free-market think tank in Chicago. Proft serves on the boards of directors for USO of Illinois, a nonprofit that provides assistance to Illinois military families; Envision Unlimited, a nonprofit in Chicago that serves developmentally disabled persons; and Aid for Women, a Catholic pregnancy center in Chicago.
Additionally, Proft runs Upstream Ideas, a media group that runs a series of web and radio-based programs where Proft discusses regional and national politics and policy. Programs include Connecting the Dots, :60 of Sanity, Against the Current, Illinois Rising, Follow the Logic, Two Minute Warning, and Dollars and Sense.
Proft is a co-founder of the Illinois Opportunity Project, a 501(c)(4) organization that promotes free-market public policy solutions.
Proft also serves as the Chairman and Treasurer for Illinois Liberty Principles PAC, an independent expenditure, Super PAC organized "to make independent expenditures in support of liberty oriented policies and candidates." Liberty Principles PAC received some criticism after it sent political mailings in newspaper form to voters ahead of the 2016 primary elections, publishing eight separate periodic mailings. The Illinois State Board of Elections decided not to formally discipline the PAC after a formal complaint was made that alleged it violated campaign finance laws.
Prior to his campaign for Governor, Proft was a Republican consultant working on numerous political campaigns and served in various leadership capacities in state and municipal government. He was the spokesman for Cicero Town president Larry Dominick.
On July 11, 2016, the Chicago Tribune published an op-ed written by Proft concerning the 2016 shooting of Dallas police officers. In the article, Proft criticized the media's coverage of both the Dallas shootings and the shootings of black men by police officers. Profit argued on behalf of a middle ground, writing, "There is plenty of intellectual room between 'cops can do no wrong' and 'cops are all racists waging war against minorities.' The reasoned room in between is occupied by most of the Americans who are not on television, radio or Twitter."
In February 2017, WLS-Channel 7 sports anchor Mark Giangreco posted a tweet calling President Donald Trump a "cartoon lunatic" elected by "a country of simpletons." The station suspended Giangreco without pay for a few weeks. Giangreco deleted the tweet, but Proft caught it before he did and wrote about it on his website. He also spoke about it on his program on WIND-AM 560. "As for the substance of it, Mark Giangreco calling everyone who voted for Trump a simpleton, the intellectual quality of that speaks for itself," Proft told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I don’t need to comment on that."
On June 23, 2009, Proft announced his candidacy for Governor of Illinois on the “Don Wade & Roma Show” on WLS (AM). The tagline of Proft's campaign was "Illinois isn't broken. It's fixed," signifying Illinois' government is set up to serve the politicians in power, not the people.
Proft called for "policy revolution" to slice state personal and corporate income taxes in half and abolish the estate tax, to freeze spending and only allow it to increase based on inflation and population growth, and to implement a statewide opportunity scholarship program.
Proft earned 7.78% of the vote, coming in sixth in a seven-way Republican primary race.