Patel’s work will focus heavily on investigating political power brokers and how money affects elections and government, particularly in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
“Julie Patel is a relentless investigative reporter and consummate storyteller, and we’re delighted to welcome her,” Center for Public Integrity Executive Director William E. Buzenberg said. “She’s a notable addition to the Center’s already prominent group of journalists uncovering political corruption and influence peddling in the nation’s capital.”
Since 2012, Patel worked as an investigative reporter for WAMU-FM 88.5, the National Public Radio affiliate in Washington, D.C. There, her five-part “Deals for Developers” project revealed how Washington, D.C., politicians collectively rewarded wealthy campaign donors with more than $1 billion in subsidies and tax breaks for their real estate projects.
From 2007 to 2012, Patel wrote about Florida’s insurance and utility industries for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Her reporting included statehouse coverage and a series of stories revealing cozy ties between the state’s largest utility and its regulators. She also co-wrote the paper’s popular House Keys blog.
From 2003 to 2007, Patel covered local government, education, demographic and sports business affairs for the San Jose Mercury News. A multimedia series she wrote and co-produced about mobile home dwellers displaced by developers won a 2008 Emmy in the news and documentary category.
Patel earned a bachelor’s degree in gender studies and English literature from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in communications from Stanford University. She was born in India and raised in Chicago. Before working at the Chicago Sun-Times as a reporting intern, she made its front page: as an AmeriCorps volunteer receiving a hug from former President Bill Clinton.
The Center for Public Integrity was founded in 1989 by Charles Lewis and is one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations. Its mission is to serve democracy by revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of public trust by powerful public and private institutions, using the tools of investigative journalism.
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In IRE-sponsored web chat, Lewis also offers optimistic forecast for future of investigative reporting