Isaac Arnsdorf

Reporter

Photo of Isaac Arnsdorf

Isaac Arnsdorf covers national politics.

His reporting on President Trump's agenda for veterans won the Sidney Hillman Foundation's Sidney Award and the National Press Club's Sandy Hume Award, and was an honorable mention for the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.

Before joining ProPublica in 2017, he covered lobbying and campaign finance at Politico. He previously worked for Bloomberg News.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Headlines GOP Fundraiser as COVID-19 Cases Surge

Electioneering by a cabinet secretary is unusual by historical standards, but Trump administration officials continue to show no reluctance to play politics.

Who Decides When Vaccine Studies Are Done? Internal Documents Show Fauci Plays a Key Role.

Dr. Anthony Fauci will see data from government-funded vaccine trials before the FDA does. One caveat: Pfizer’s study, which is ahead of the others, isn’t included in his purview.

How to Tell a Political Stunt From a Real Vaccine

There is a small chance that Pfizer’s vaccine trial will yield results by Nov. 3. But it could still take weeks for FDA review. Here’s everything that has to happen and how to tell a political stunt from a real vaccine.

Trump’s Vaccine Czar Refuses to Give Up Stock in Drug Company Involved in His Government Role

The administration calls Moncef Slaoui, who leads its vaccine race, a “contractor” to sidestep rules against personally profiting from government positions. Slaoui owns $10 million in stock of a company working with his team to develop a vaccine.

Are You Participating in a Vaccine Trial? Are You Running One? We’d Like to Hear About It.

The development and deployment of a vaccine will affect everybody on the planet. Help us identify and tell important stories.

Now in Government Food Aid Boxes: A Letter From Donald Trump

Democrats say the letter violates the law against using government resources to campaign. It’s just the latest example of President Trump using his office to boost his reelection hopes.

Billionaire T. Denny Sanford Was Under Investigation for Child Pornography

The richest man in South Dakota, T. Denny Sanford, was investigated for possible possession of child pornography, according to four people familiar with the matter. Sanford is a major donor to children’s charities and Republican politicians.

How Hotel Chains Got a Slice of Government Aid for Small Businesses

Up to $1 billion in small business relief dollars went to hotel chains with more than 500 employees. One beneficiary was the client of a former aide to Sen. Susan Collins who was among many lobbying her to create this special exception.

Thousands of Small Business Owners Have Not Gotten Disaster Loans the Government Promised Them

A top official said 99% of funds were paid, but only 55% of small business owners reported receiving the money. Borrowers were told there was a technical glitch, but the Small Business Administration would not answer questions about it.

Trump Friends and Family Cleared for Millions in Small Business Bailout

Beneficiaries of the PPP included a lettuce farming venture backed by Trump’s son, Kushner companies, and a dentist who golfs with the president. The figures were released after a lawsuit by several news organizations, including ProPublica.

How Rich Investors, Not Doctors, Profit From Marking Up ER Bills

TeamHealth, a medical staffing firm owned by private-equity giant Blackstone, charges multiples more than the cost of ER care. All the money left over after covering costs goes to the company, not the doctors who treated the patients.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Buddy Used His “Shadow” Sway Over the VA to Promote His Comic Book Empire

Marvel chief Ike Perlmutter arranged for comic book characters to ring the NYSE closing bell with the VA secretary in 2017, according to a new government audit. Perlmutter has denied benefiting from his role as an informal adviser to President Trump.

Contractors for Trump’s Controversial $3 Billion Food Aid Program Have Hired a Longtime Lobbyist to Tout Their Work

Lawmakers are asking why some federal contractors in Trump’s food aid program apparently lack qualifications to deliver the goods. Companies hired a consultant to tell positive stories.

Nursing Homes Fought Federal Emergency Plan Requirements for Years. Now, They’re Coronavirus Hot Spots.

The long-term care industry resisted a federal mandate to plan for disasters including pandemics. About 43% of nursing homes have been caught violating the requirement, including facilities that have now had deadly COVID-19 outbreaks.

Trump’s Food Aid Program Gives Little Funding to the Northeast, Where Coronavirus Hit Hardest

New York and New England have the most COVID-19 cases but received the second-lowest funding of any region. Maine can’t get any shipments because none of the selected contractors serve the state.

Wedding Planner, Caterer, “Brand Builder”: Trump’s Food Aid Program Is Paying $100+ Million to Unlicensed Dealers

Contractors with no experience in food distribution are looking for suppliers on Facebook while some food banks scramble to find desperately needed deliveries.

Health Insurers to Investors: We’re Good. Health Insurers to Lawmakers: Please Help.

Cigna executives told analysts the pandemic wouldn’t hurt its business, while the health insurance lobby asked Congress for aid.

Did He Talk About Her? VA Secretary Changes His Story Amid Allegations He Sought Dirt on House Staffer.

Robert Wilkie is under investigation after a complaint that he sought information to discredit a House staffer who said she was sexually assaulted in a VA hospital. Wilkie denied discussing her with Rep. Dan Crenshaw. But an email indicates he did.

Medical Staffing Companies Cut Doctors’ Pay While Spending Millions on Political Ads

While cutting benefits for emergency room doctors and other medical workers, TeamHealth and Envision have spent millions on ads meant to pressure politicians working on legislation to cap out-of-network costs for Americans.

Medical Staffing Companies Owned by Rich Investors Cut Doctor Pay and Now Want Bailout Money

Companies that employ emergency room medical personnel, many owned by private equity firms, say they are reeling from vanishing demand for non-coronavirus care. But critics worry that bailout money would be a windfall for rich investors.

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