ProPublica reporter Isaac Arnsdorf is the recipient of this month’s Sidney Award for his investigation, “The Shadow Rulers of the VA.” The story shines a light on how a trio of Trump associates are shaping Veterans Affairs policy from Mar-a-Lago.
Arnsdorf chronicled how Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, doctor Bruce Moskowitz and lawyer Marc Sherman — who meet at President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida — are exerting significant influence over the Trump administration’s veterans policies. Without oversight or transparency (not to mention official roles or experience), the trio of presidential cronies make up an informal council of advisors on the VA.
Based on Arnsdorf’s interviews with former officials, as well as hundreds of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the story showed that agency officials take direct orders from the so-called “Mar-a-Lago Crowd.”
Immediately following the story, Democratic lawmakers in the House launched an investigation and Senate Democrats called for a hearing. The liberal veterans group VoteVets sued the VA on the grounds that the agency’s failure to publicly disclose when they meet with outside experts violates federal law.
The Sidney Award recognizes “outstanding journalism that fosters social and economic justice.” Learn more about the honor here.