Move past the campaign: Use campaign finance documents and data to cover policy and governance

  • Event: 2019 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Edwin Bender of National Institute on Money in State Politics; Matt Dixon of POLITICO; Carrie Levine of The Center for Public Integrity; Charles Lewis of Investigative Reporting Workshop
  • Date/Time: Thursday, Jun. 13 at 11:30am
  • Location: Texas G
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Campaign finance reporting often gets forgotten when the politics end and the governing begins. But tracking campaign finance numbers can also be a great way to dig up stories for policy-oriented and government — not political — reporters. Spotting people who have no donor profile but are now giving five or six-figure checks should be a red flag. What do those donors want? When policy suddenly shifts, who benefits — and what did they give? These are the questions that can lead to great stories.

Speaker Bios

  • A founding incorporator for the Institute, Ed has been the executive director for more than a decade. He promotes the use of the Institute's comprehensive, highly credentialed federal and state-level political spending data and analysis by investigative journalists, scholars examining state elections and public-policy processes, attorneys involved in campaign-finance litigation, and the public at large.

  • Matt Dixon came to POLITICO Florida in March 2015 after five years covering Florida government and political scene. He served as the Florida Times-Union’s Tallahassee bureau chiefs. He also helped build Scripps Newspaper’s first ever Florida bureau, which he led for nearly two years before joining POLITICO. Dixon has been recognized for his political and investigative work, most recently wining a 2015 Green Eyeshade Award for investigative reporting. @Mdixon55 

  • Carrie Levine investigates the influence of money in politics. She was previously research director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a reporter and associate editor for The National Law Journal, and has also worked for the Charlotte Observer, the Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass., and The Sun (Lowell, Mass.). She is a graduate of Boston University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

  • Charles Lewis is a professor and founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University in Washington. A former producer for ABC News and CBS News 60 Minutes, he founded two Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit news organizations, the Center for Public Integrity and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The author or co-author of six books, he was awarded the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence in 2018. 

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