I’m a journalist with a longstanding interest in how organized interest groups and money influence public policy.

I grew up in the shadow of the nation’s capital, in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The proximity to D.C. made a difference. As a teenager, I pored over copies of the Washington Post with breakfast and rode the Metro into the city to attend protests and think tank lectures. I quickly realized that the best way to make a difference and stay true to my values was probably investigative reporting, a career I’ve pursued since college. I place institutions and power centers under scrutiny, and while doing it, I try to remain skeptical and fair-minded.

This pursuit has brought me to almost every corner of the country to write about corporate and political wrongdoing. I have interviewed billionaires and presidential candidates, investigated surveillance and toxic chemicals, and exposed corruption on the local and national levels. The focus of my work has fueled congressional hearings and upended elections. And my work uncovering illegal foreign influence in our campaign finance system led to one of the largest Federal Election Commission fines in American history.

In April 2023, I officially launched Substack as the primary place for my reporting. Here are some thoughts about why Substack appeals to me as a model for journalism. In short, I want an independent platform to investigate, provide analysis, and break news without any partisan or ideological gatekeeping. I hope to produce journalism that you can’t find anywhere else.

Most independent writers produce a steady flow of tribal or emotional content designed to exploit our polarized political landscape. I’m hoping to do something different. I aim to appeal to those on the right, the left, and the center through original reporting and investigations that cut across traditional ideological boundaries.

Original reporting, in general, and investigative journalism, in particular, is time-consuming and difficult. Please consider subscribing to support my work.

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Most online news sites thrive on clickbait or partisan content. I’m doing something different — investigative reporting that cuts through the polarization bubble and asks questions you won’t find elsewhere.

In addition to subscribing, you can make a special donation to support my work through the links here: $500, $1,000 or $10,000.

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I cover all kinds of public concern issues. Send me a tip if you have a story idea or documents you want to leak. You can reach me by direct message on Twitter, Signal at (202) 394-9170 or email at lee (at) leefang.net. I am based in San Francisco.

Please contact me for any corrections or related issues related to this Substack.

An archive of over 600 investigative stories and news reports I produced for The Intercept from 2015 through 2023 can be found here. I previously wrote for The Nation and VICE, among other outlets. In 2012, I helped run an anti-corruption blog called Republic Report. My writing has appeared on NPR, the New York Times, Politico, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Baffler, among many other outlets.

Selection of Previous Work

Twitter Aided the Pentagon in its Covert Online Propaganda Campaign
The Intercept | December 20, 2022

Breaking Unions with the Language of Diversity and Social Justice
The Intercept | June 7, 2022

After Pork Giant was Exposed for Cruel Killings, the FBI Pursued its Critics
The Intercept | February 17, 2021

The Playbook for Poisoning the Earth

The Intercept | January 18, 2020

Protesters Collect Secret Cash to Oppose Fur Ban Proposed in California
The Intercept | July 10, 2019

As SF District Attorney, Kamala Harris Stopped Cooperating with Victims of Catholic Church Child Abuse
The Intercept | June 9, 2019

GOP’s Lawmaker’s Pro-War Speech Lifted From Saudi Lobbyist Talking Points
The Intercept | May 2, 2019

Healthcare Lobbyists Secretly Secure Democrats' Opposition to "Medicare for All," Internal Docs Show
The Intercept | August 2, 2018

Michael Cohen and the Felony Taking Over Washington
New York Times | June 18, 2018

OxyContin Makers Quietly Worked to Weaken Legal Doctrine That Could Lead to Jail Time for Executives
The Intercept | February 23, 2018

Sphere of Influence: How American Libertarians are Remarking Latin American Politics
The Intercept | August 9, 2017

Her Father Championed Jewish Refugees; She Finances the Anti-Muslim Refugee Movement
The Intercept | February 17, 2017

How a Top GOP Lawyer Guided a Chinese-Owned Company into U.S. Presidential Politics
The Intercept | August 3, 2016

Atlanta Mayor's Column Ripping Bernie Sanders Drafted by Lobbyist, Emails Show
The Intercept | May 6, 2016

The CIA Is Investing In Firms That Mine Your Tweets And Instagram Photos
The Intercept | April 14, 2016

CBS CEO: "For Us, Economically, Donald's Place In This Election Is A Good Thing"
The Intercept | February 29, 2016

Solar Rooftop Energy Harms Minorities, Claims News Outlet Tied to Utility Industry
The Intercept | June 17, 2015

Emails Reveal Dairy Lobbyist Crafted "Ag-Gag" Legislation Outlawing Pictures of Farms
The Intercept | May 28, 2015

Insider Morocco’s Campaign to Influence Hillary Clinton and Other U.S. Leaders
The Intercept | April 22, 2015

Who’s Paying the Pro-War Pundits?
The Nation | September 16, 2014

Trolls Paid by a Telecom Lobbying Firm Keep Commenting on My Net Neutrality Articles
VICE | August 6, 2014

King Rex
Politico Magazine | July/August 2014

The Shadow Lobbying Complex
The Nation | February 20, 2014

Former Walmart Exec Leads Shadowy Smear Campaign Against Black Friday Activists
The Nation | November 26, 2013

US Retailers Launch Lobby Blitz to Sell Weak Bangladesh Safety Plan
The Nation | July 10, 2013

When a Congressman Becomes a Lobbyist, He Gets a 1,452 Percent Raise
The Nation | March 14, 2012

How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools
The Nation | November 16, 2011

In Glitzy Shadows, a Health Reform Foe Lurks
Boston Globe | December 6, 2009

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