Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Center for Public Integrity have won the national Editor and Publisher crowdsourcing and social media EPPY award for #CitizenSleuth, a crowdsourced investigation into the Trump administration appointees’ financial disclosures.
The project began with hundreds of financial disclosures retrieved from the Office of Government Ethics, the White House and federal agencies. That information was processed by the Center for Public Integrity’s Chris Zubak-Skees. From that he created a searchable spreadsheet that can be used by the public to identify potential conflicts of interest by appointees as they enact policy. The data included assets, investments and debts held by Trump administration appointees as they took office.
Christina Wilke, Dave Levinthal, Carrie Levine and Zubak-Skees were part of the CPI team that published several investigations, including former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s failure to disclose the lender on his real estate debt. While reporting that story Wilkie uncovered Bannon’s shadow press office that may have violated federal law. Bannon resigned from office in August. The project also revealed that three of President Donald Trump’s key political appointees were earning federal paychecks — while owing the IRS back taxes.
Reveal’s Amy Walters and Susanne Reber transformed that reporting into a Reveal radio show and podcast that, with the help of the Center for Public Integrity, also tallied the assets of Trump as listed on his financial disclosure.
The #CitizenSleuth spreadsheet reached over a million people and received hundreds of comments. Many of those crowdsourced tips continue to be reported by the staffs of Reveal and the CPI. Data for the project was provided by ProPublica.