Meet the Sludge Team

Meet the Sludge Team

Sludge aims to produce fresh, investigative journalism on the role of money in politics and lobbying. Sludge isn’t chasing clicks. We’re here to lift the veil on the secrecy that shrouds our policy makers. We’re looking beyond public records and financial disclosures to reveal the obscure networks that influence policy  and the conflicts of interests that drive systemic impropriety.

Sludge reports on the ways industries launder their agendas through independent groups, the power maps of corporate networks that extend deep into government, how concentrated economic powers dictate public policy, and more. We scour traditional lobbying disclosures and campaign contributions, but our primary focus is all the ways that money influences politics that don’t fit established patterns and often don’t have to be disclosed.

If a special interest is trying to hide, Sludge is committed to digging up their dirt. 

Meet Our Co-founders

David Moore

David Moore is a co-founder of Sludge. David was previously the executive director of the non-profit  Participatory Politics Foundation. PPF created OpenCongress, the most visited non-profit site for tracking bills and money in the U.S. Congress. Previous projects also included AskThem and NYC Councilmatic. David is based in NYC. (@ppolitics)

Donald Shaw

Donald Shaw is a co-founder of Sludge. Donald is a journalist focused on special interests’ efforts to influence politicians and shape public policy. He was previously a reporter for MapLight, where he exposed correlations between campaign contributions and votes, and at OpenCongress. Donald is based in Western Massachusetts. (@donnydonny)

Meet the Reporters

Alex Kotch

Alex Kotch is an investigative journalist and money-in-politics expert. Alex got his start at the Institute for Southern Studies in North Carolina. He has freelanced in New York City, reporting for, the Nation and Exposed by CMD. Most recently, Alex was part of the award-winning investigative team at International Business Times. (@alexkotch)

Jay Cassano

Jay Cassano is an investigative journalist focused on government secrecy. Jay began his career as a foreign correspondent in Turkey and was previously on staff at Fast Company and the award-winning investigative team at International Business Times. He was also the first journalist-in-residence at Data & Society Research Institute. (@jcassano)

Josefa Velasquez

Josefa Velasquez is a journalist who focuses on the nexus of lobbying, campaign contributions, politics and policy. She got her start at the Associated Press in Albany, New York covering the state Legislature. She previously worked for POLITICO New York focusing on politics and health care, and The New York Law Journal. Josefa is based out of Albany, New York. (@J_Velasquez

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