USA TODAY is a finalist for the prestigious Goldsmith Prize

Illustration by Andrea Brunty

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Illustration by Andrea Brunty

USA TODAY and two other collaborating news organizations were named finalists Wednesday for the 2020 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, one of journalism’s most prestigious honors. 

The series “Copy. Paste. Legislate.” was the result of a reporting partnership among USA TODAY, the Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity. It is among six finalists for the award. The winner will be announced at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on March 12.

The investigative project, which involved dozens of reporters at CPI and from USA TODAY Network newsrooms across the country, constituted the first attempt to document the extent of special interests’ control over legislation nationwide

READ THE SERIES:You elected them to write laws. They’re letting corporations do it.

The project’s data allowed reporters to show how powerful a tool “model legislation” has become, giving them control over the language used to write state laws. It uncovered the most frequently copied model bills and how special interests have lobbied to spread them from state to state. 

“There are few things more important for journalism to monitor than government, and there are few things we fear more than our government being secretly manipulated,” said Greg Burton, executive editor of The Republic. “With overwhelming evidence and painstaking data analysis, that is exactly what these reporters revealed.”

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