Dave Levinthal and his federal team have also had the difficult task of keeping current with money and politics in a race now dominated by someone who allegedly funds his own campaign. Dave, Michael Beckel and our Soles Fellow Cady Zuvich have done a strong job for months now on tracking campaign spending data and using proprietary Kantar-CMAG political advertising data to find political nuggets. Michael dug into Bernie Sanders’ data to show small-but-intriguing commitments from lobbyists. Cady used the Kantar-CMAG data to put hard data behind the assumption that Republican super-PACs would put their money into anti-Trump advertising.
Politicians love defense spending, voters not so much
Also on the subject of fellows, Lauren Chadwick, a Scoville Foundation fellow, filed a valuable piece this week on the disconnect between politicians — as we know well-fed by defense companies — and voters on the priorities of defense spending. It’s a good start. Lauren joins us from a stint at NBC and is a past intern at CERN and at the Monterey Institute for International Studies.
Patrick Malone showed the reach of Jeff Smith’s national security team at the Center with a strong set of pieces — also published by partners in the Netherlands and Belgium — on the extraordinary tale of poor security at Belgian nuclear installations and attempts by ISIS to kidnap a leading scientist with the objective of creating a dirty bomb.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has been shortlisted a couple of weeks ago for the European Press Prize, investigative reporting category for the Swiss Leaks project.
Here, Center journalists were finalists in two categories in the Scripps Howard Awards for 2015. One was the “community journalism” category where the state political team worked with the Post & Courier in Charleston to unlock the secrets of expenses data to produce this story. The second was Dan Wagner, now at BuzzFeed,who exposed the mobile home empire of Warren Buffett and its treatment of poor customers.
Susan Ferriss has worked tirelessly on the subject of kids being treated as criminals in our schools. The Washington Post editorial board highlighted that work this week.
The environment team’s Talia Buford will speak to Wesleyan University faculty and students next month about “Environmental Justice, Denied,” the project she co-reported with Kristen Lombardi that looked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s dismal record of enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
What we’re reading and thinking about
Jeff Smith, our national security managing editor, noted two pieces this week:
Foreign Policy has a very interesting and sad article explaining how the refugee crisis is remaking Europe, changing both its politics and some of its ideals. It’s written from Sweden, which until recently had doors open wider than anyone else and the most generous aid programs. Not any more.
The New Yorker and ProPublica had an elegant co-production on philanthropist and private equity baron David Rubenstein.
I welcome feedback on this note.