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April 11, 2024 ​ –– Impact Award Ceremony/The Story Behind 2023's Winning Stories

Join members of the New York Financial Writers’ Association on April 11th to honor recipients of the 2023 Impact Award for Distinguished Financial Journalism, ProPublica reporters Justin ElliottJosh KaplanBrett Murphy and Alex Mierjeski. The team of ProPublica journalists were chosen as winners of NYFWA's Impact Award – which celebrates a body of work that spurs change–  for a series of articles investigating conflict of interest, failed oversight and ethical indiscretions at the nation’s highest court. The series is titled, “Friends of the Court: Scotus Justices’ Beneficial Relationships With Billionaire Donors.”  

The ProPublica investigation, which totals more than 20 stories thus far, has unveiled the intersection between financial power and judicial power in America at the highest levels. It shows how four billionaires and other ultrawealthy businessmen have bought exclusive access to the nation's most powerful court –the Supreme Court– by spending potentially millions of dollars on exotic vacations, private jet trips, real estate deals and other financial benefits primarily for Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Samuel Alito also vacationed on a luxury Alaska salmon fishing trip as the guest of a billionaire whose company had frequent cases before the Supreme Court. Both justices failed to disclose these gifts. The billionaires include real estate tycoon Harlan Crow, hedge fund executive Paul Singer, entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga, and oil baron Tony Novelly.

The impact of public scrutiny stemming from the ProPublica series spurred the Supreme Court to announce in November its first code of ethics in its 234-year history and Justice Thomas to amend some of his disclosure forms. The series also sparked a Senate Finance Committee investigation into the tax filings of billionaire Crow, including whether he properly disclosed to the IRS some gifts to Justice Thomas. The Crow tax probe also has increased overall public scrutiny and calls for reform regarding how the ultrawealthy report taxes, including billionaires’ common practice of skirting tax laws by claiming business deductions on their pleasure yachts.

Following the award presentation, members of the winning team will take part in a panel discussing the story behind their series of articles –from how they reported and found their sources, to where they found key data and how they dealt with the billionaires and officials at the Supreme Court.

This event is open to NYFWA members in good standing. Guests are welcome to attend by paying the $15 NYFWA guest fee.

When: Thursday, April 11th, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Where: Location provided at time of signup

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