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Charles Lewis, Founder

Charles Lewis founded the Center for Public Integrity in 1989 and served as its executive director until January 2005. He was the founding president of the Fund for Independence in Journalism, a support organization for the Center for Public Integrity. And he is a tenured professor and the founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University School of Communication, in Washington, D.C. Lewis left a successful career as an investigative reporter for ABC News and as a producer of the CBS News program 60 Minutes and began the Center. Under his leadership, it published roughly 300 investigative reports, including 14 books, from 1989 through 2004, its work honored more than 30 times by national journalism organizations. For example, in 2003, in February the Center posted secret draft “Patriot II” legislation and in October posted all of the known U.S. contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Windfalls of War first identified that Halliburton had received the most money from those contracts, and it won the George Polk Award. A co-author of five books, including national bestseller The Buying of the President 2004, Lewis was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1998 and received the PEN USA First Amendment award in 2004.

A national investigative journalist for roughly 30 years, Lewis has been writing a new book since 2005. Some of that research was published by the Center for Public Integrity in January, 2008. Iraq: The War Card, a 380,000-word chronology and analysis of the pre-war public rhetoric by leading members of the Bush administration, identified 935 “false statements” about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Lewis has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, and many other publications. He serves on numerous journalism-related boards and is a longtime member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the National Press Club. He began his first job in journalism at the age of seventeen, working nights in the sports department of the Wilmington (Delaware) News-Journal.

A native of Newark, Delaware, Lewis holds a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington and a B.A. in political science with honors and distinction from the University of Delaware. He was a Ferris Professor at Princeton University in 2005, and a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University in 2006.