Center invests in finance, money-in-politics coverage

Four journalists join finance, Consider the Source team

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The Center for Public Integrity is investing in the coverage of finance and money-in- politics issues with four new hires.

Alison Fitzgerald, a 2009 Polk Award winner, author and longtime Bloomberg economics and enterprise reporter, will oversee the Center’s financial coverage as well as much of its state money-in-politics work. She is joined by Dan Wagner, who comes to the Center from the Associated Press’ Washington bureau, where he specialized in financial regulation.

Both Alison and Dan will start, appropriately enough, on tax day, April 15.

The money-in-politics beat received a major boost this week when Ben Wieder, a computer-assisted reporting specialist, began work Monday. Ben will be joined by Alan Suderman, who has broken numerous stories on Washington D.C.’s government as a staff writer with the Washington City Paper. Alan and Ben will focus mostly on state-level political money coverage. Alan starts April 29.

Alison’s career highlights include writing the 2011 book “In Too Deep: BP and the Drilling Race that Took it Down.” Her reporting has appeared in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune, among other publications. Prior to joining Bloomberg in 2000, Alison worked as a reporter, and then international editor, for the Associated Press. She also has worked as a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Palm Beach Post in Florida.

Alison is a graduate of Georgetown University and earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University. Given her fluency in French and Italian, it’s perhaps appropriate that the long list of reporting awards she’s won includes a 2008 Overseas Press Club honor. Her coverage of secretive political donors won her a 2011 National Press Foundation Everett Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.

Dan has worked at the Associated Press since 2008, where is most recent work focused on financial regulation reporting, particularly the banking industry’s relationship with official Washington. Among his many scoops and deep dives are stories on former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's close Wall Street contacts, government subsidies to abusive mortgage companies, lavish spending by bailed-out bankers.

Before joining the Associated Press, Dan worked for two years at Newsday, where he won a National Headliner Award for uncovering risky lending by American Home Mortgage — a practice that helped lead to the company’s demise. Dan, a graduate of Harvard University, has also worked stints at the Boston Globe and National Public Radio.

Ben comes to the Center from Stateline.org, where he worked as a staff writer focused on education policy and data analysis. He will track non-candidate political spending in the states as well as Federal Election Commission activity. Ben is a graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts and earned a master’s degree in print and digital reporting from the Missouri School of Journalism. He’s also interned with Newsday, the Chronicle of Higher Education and the National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting.

Alan’s experience includes writing a weekly column and daily blog on Washington, D.C., politics, and his work covering shady government contracting practices and elected officials’ questionable ethics have led to formal investigations. Prior to joining the Washington City Paper, Alan worked as a reporter for the Washington Examiner, the Juneau Empire in Alaska and the Associated Press’ Helena, Mont., bureau. A graduate of Southwestern University in Texas, Alan also earned a journalism master’s degree from Northwestern University. He’s also a former Peace Corps volunteer who worked in the African nation of Guinea.

The new hires  mark the Center's return to financial journalism and make the Consider the Source project team one of the largest focused on political influence issues in the nation.