Charles Lewis has been doing original reporting and research about political power and influence in America since 1977. He and the organization he founded and led for 15 years, the Center for Public Integrity, have produced unprecedented, award-winning reports and books about democracy, corruption, and government accountability in the United States and around the world.
Co-author of five Center books and contributor to a sixth, Lewis is probably best known for The Buying of the President series of investigative books about the U.S. presidential candidates, their political parties and their special interest "career patron" relationships, published in 1996, 2000 and 2004. The most recent book was on the New York Times bestseller (short or extended) list for three months.
For years Lewis has traveled and spoken extensively about his books and other work, directly to public audiences and in hundreds of news media interviews. He has guest lectured at more than two dozen major colleges and universities, including American, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cambridge (England), Columbia, Delaware, Florida Atlantic, Georgetown, George Washington, Harvard, Ithaca, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, NYU, Northwestern, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Ohio State, Pennsylvania, Penn State, Princeton, USC, Stanford, Trinity College (San Antonio, TX), Tufts, Virginia, US Military Academy (West Point) and Wisconsin.
In his new book, 935 Lies, Lewis investigates the deadliest abuses of power by government and companies, how the news media's "watchdog" role is changing, and the future of truth in America.
Koch foundations gave more than $41 million to 89 nonprofits from 2007-2011, part of a wide effort at funding organizations with public policy, education and political interests that align with those of Koch Industries, run by Charles and David Koch. The Investigative Reporting Workshop examined Internal Revenue Service documents for a closer look at Koch giving, which also includes millions to the arts, medicine and colleges across the country, as well as continued support of a "No Climate Tax Pledge."
Columbia Journalism Review - April, 25, 2012
A journalist mines the past to inform the future.
Nieman Watchdog - April 23, 2012
Investigative reporter and innovator Chuck Lewis interviewed and taped journalists who played a role in some of the biggest stories of the past 60 years – national ‘moments of truth,’ as Lewis calls them. The result, ‘Investigating Power,’ is a tribute to good reporting and a reminder of how powerful the press can be when it does what is supposed to do.
Video accounts from 26 men and women that made the news and shaped history.
Columbia Journalism Review; September/October 2009
According to Lewis "an increasing percentage of the most ambitious reporting projects will emanate from the public realm, not from private commercial outlets." And "properly structured and led, the Investigative News Network could become the online destination for original investigative reporting."
Nieman Watchdog; July 3, 2009
Regarding the new Investigative News Network, Lewis writes that "Never before has anyone attempted to organize the best investigative reporting output and energies of respected news organizations and their journalists, making that original ‘accountability’ information infinitely more accessible to the public in multiple ways in the new media landscape."
IRE Journal , May/June 2009
According to Lewis, “we are witnessing nothing less than the dawn of a new investigative journalism ecosystem in the United States, in which the most ambitious reporting projects will increasingly emanate from the public realm, not from private commercial outlets.” With journalists increasingly entering the public realm and attempting to start their own investigative reporting news organizations, he outlines some “logical, basic, best practices” to help them succeed.
by Charles Lewis and Bruce Sievers;
Chronicle of Philanthropy , March 12, 2009
In "All the News That's Fit to Finance," Lewis and Sievers explore the future of financing journalism and the role philanthropy should play in promoting journalistic endeavors.
Columbia Journalism Review , March/April 2009
In "A Social-Network Solution ," Lewis takes us forward to the year 2014 where journalism is thriving. He then takes the readers back through time to the current state of journalism and shows the steps that can be taken to make journalism a vibrant industry.
Society of Professional Journalists centennial anniversary book essay, 2009
On the 100th anniversary of the founding of Sigma Delta Chi, Lewis writes that now, "more than ever before, we need fearless truth-tellers to ferret out the overtly obscured or merely inaccessible facts about the decisions, policies and practices that affect our daily lives."
Nieman Reports , Spring 2008
"Seeking New Ways to Nurture the Capacity to Report" is an examination of how the government has seized control of information and how major news outlets have devoted fewer and fewer resources toward investigative journalism. Lewis explains how nonprofit journalism can be a method of promoting sound investigative reporting.
Louisiana State University Breaux Symposium paper, April 2008
Co-moderator Lewis reviews some of the recent history of nonprofit and for profit news organizations, with the over-arching question: "what is the likely, foreseeable future for journalism as a profitable or at least sustainable enterprise in the years ahead?"
University of North Carolina Philip Meyer Symposium paper, March 2008
In this critique of market-driven journalism, Lewis trumpets the vision of computer assisted journalism pioneer and author Philip Meyer, who wrote in his 2004 book, The Vanishing Newspaper , "The only way to save journalism is to develop a new model that finds profit in truth, vigilance and social responsibility."
Columbia Journalism Review , September/October 2007
Lewis discusses the major changes in journalism and the necessary role that nonprofit organizations must play to promote good journalism.
Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University, April 2007
In "The Growing Importance of Nonprofit Journalism," Lewis examines the necessity of nonprofit journalism to ensure high quality journalism that is necessary for a thriving democracy.
November 22, 2004. The Center for Public Integrity.
The Corruption Notebooks: 25 Investigative Journalists Report on Abuses of Power in Their Home Country is a no-holds-barred collection of essays by leading investigative journalists around the world who have spent years fearlessly investigating the powers that be in their respective countries. Their writing reveals how rich and poor democracies, including the United States, are susceptible to political corruption.
(Public Integrity Books: 2004)
The IRE Journal. September/October 2004: 21-23.
The Buying of the President 2004 exposes the most powerful interests behind the major presidential candidates, and is the only book of its kind with investigative profiles and personal histories of leading White House aspirants, based upon millions of federal and state government records and interviews with more than 600 people, including former President Jimmy Carter and current or former Senators John McCain and Robert Dole.
New York Times Bestseller!
The Cheating of America: How Tax Avoidance and Evasion by the Super Rich Are Costing the Country Billions – and What You Can Do About It ( It (with co-author Bill Allison) investigates, identifies and confronts some of the nation’s wealthiest individuals and corporations for dodging taxes that nearly everyone else pays. Researchers analyzed thousands of U.S. Tax Court and other federal records and interviewed hundreds of officials, lawyers, accountants, and others.
(William Morrow: 2001)
The Buying of the President 2000 first disclosed that Enron was the top “career patron” bankrolling George W. Bush, and was produced by roughly two dozen researchers, writers and editors who exhaustively scrutinized the backgrounds and financial entanglements of Bush, Vice President Al Gore and all of the major presidential candidates and their political parties.
The Buying of the Congress: How Special Interests Have Stolen Your Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness was denounced as “ridiculous” by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich when it was published. Prepared by 36 researchers, writers and editors who interviewed more than 1,200 people and combed through hundreds of thousands of federal records, this book “follows the money” and reveals how and why Congress is so unresponsive to the basic concerns of ordinary citizens.
The Buying of the President for the first time in American politics systematically examines the financial relationships and entanglements of America’s presidential candidates, exposing, among other things, their “Top Ten Career Patrons.” Inspiring a PBS Frontline documentary and syndicated by the New York Times, the book also features a Foreword by author Kevin Phillips.
Charles Lewis, a former 60 Minutes producer who founded The Center for Public Integrity, is a MacArthur Fellow and the founding executive editor of the new Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University.
Lewis regularly travels nationally and internationally to talk about investigative reporting and the future of journalism.