“Big Sky, Big Money” Wins Investigative Reporting Award

Share:

April 10, 2013

FRONTLINE, Marketplace and ProPublica have won a multiplatform award from the Investigative Reporters and Editors for Big Sky, Big Money. The award recognizes outstanding investigative reporting.

Big Sky, Big Money explores how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision changed political campaigns in America, starting at its epicenter in Montana. It tracks the inner workings of a dark money group, Western Tradition Partnership, through boxes of documents initially found in a meth house in Colorado.

In their comments about the award, the IRE judges said the project “break(s) down a complicated  subject — campaign finance in the post-Citizens United era — in a simple, entertaining fashion.”

Following the broadcast, a Montana judge ruled that WTP had violated the state’s campaign finance laws. The group’s executive director, Donny Ferguson, resigned, taking a new position working for Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas).

A day after the film aired, protesters rallied against the group in Helena, Montana. That evening, the Montana Commissioner on Political Practices, which had until recently been holding the documents, reported a break-in. Nothing was stolen; the documents were in a secure location at the time.

WTP, which operates now under the name American Tradition Partnership, may also be under scrutiny by a federal grand jury, which subpoenaed documents in December that were first disclosed publicly by the FRONTLINE film.

A full list of winners can be found here.


Sarah Childress

Sarah Childress, Series Senior Editor, FRONTLINE

Twitter:

@sarah_childress

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

Derek Chauvin, three other ex-Minneapolis officers indicted by Justice Department on civil rights charges in killing of George Floyd
A federal grand jury has indicted four ex-Minneapolis police officers on charges of abusing their positions of authority to detain George Floyd, leading to his death last May.
May 7, 2021
FRONTLINE Earns Five Peabody Awards Nominations
Five FRONTLINE documentaries have been named 2021 George Foster Peabody Award finalists.
May 4, 2021
‘Escaping Eritrea’ Filmmaker Evan Williams Describes ‘Phenomenal Sacrifice’ of Eritreans Sneaking Footage Out of Country
'Escaping Eritrea' producer Evan Williams set out to learn what was driving so many Eritreans from their homeland. He found answers — as well as people trying to smuggle secret footage out of the country.
May 4, 2021
500,000 Refugees, ‘Slavery-like’ Compulsory Service, No National Elections, Border Conflicts & Secret Prisons: 5 Human Rights Crises in Eritrea
From compulsory conscription to the mass exodus of refugees, here is an introduction to five of Eritrea’s biggest human rights crises.
May 4, 2021