Oct. 08, 2021
Best of the Week — First Winner
Accounting and Accountability: AP follows the money, finds most ‘rescue’ funds unspent
Earlier this year, states and cities across the country pleaded for a pandemic “rescue” plan to avoid a fiscal cliff, and they got it: $350 billion from Washington for local and state governments. Five months later, AP State Government Team reporter David Lieb dug into the data, state by state, city by city. He found that states overall had spent just 2.5% of their initial allotment while large cities spent 8.5% — not such an emergency after all.
It was a dramatic finding from an ongoing series of accountability stories led by AP’s state government and data teams tracking hundreds of billions of dollars in pandemic aid.
As Lieb gathered and analyzed the reports, data journalist Camille Fassett prepared the information for wider distribution to customers who used it for their own localized reporting.
Play for the story was outstanding. It landed on the front pages of dozens of AP’s biggest customers, online and print, and drew readership on AP News. For distinctive accountability journalism that delivered on both the national and local level, Lieb and Fassett earn AP’s Best of Week — First Winner.