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The big data on the big spenders, and stories that keep on keeping on

Some of our data work and also timeless background stories have a remarkably long life. Chris Zubak-Skees is an exceptional exponent in the art of data-led storytelling and a rare talent in my view. Gordon Witkin and I both want to call out his “How much the 2016 Presidential candidates have raised”.

It is the story that keeps on giving with nearly 3,500 Facebook “likes” on our own site.

It reminds me a little of John Dunbar’s 2012 story “The ‘Citizens United’ decision and why it matters” which keeps going to the top of our own hit parade, as does “12 Things to know about Bernie Sanders”.

John Oliver cites the Center (again)

Last Week Tonight presenter John Oliver has picked up the Jon Stewart mantle of course and recently became one of our social media followers. Oliver has often cited the Center by name in his well-researched projects and recently noted the work Nick Kusnetz had done on the transformation of North Dakota by fracking. The John Oliver reference is at about minute 14 of the show here on YouTube.

What we’re reading (or thinking about)

Gordon Witkin claims to be reading this report on crowdfunding from the Tow Center for Internet Journalism at Columbia University. [Here’s another link to that Beacon campaign for Unequal Risk].

In the realm of the superPACS and our own focus on money and politics I thought this piece, ostensibly a book review but really much more, in the New York Review of Books, was a fantastic explainer and exposer of the risks to democracy presented by the torrent of money into the political system. It really reminded me, as a newcomer, why it is so important to do what the Center does.

I was probably the last person in America to read this slightly fawning — though not in the direction you might expect — piece of President Obama interviewing the writer Marilynne Robinson, also in the New York Review of Books.

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Peter Bale

Peter Bale was the Center for Public Integrity's CEO from 2015 to 2016.