Bharara: Support investigative journalism

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on Tuesday acknowledged the role reporters played in bringing possible corruption in the Buffalo Billion program to his attention and underscored the importance of investigative reporting in cleaning up state government.

Bharara told an audience attending an event sponsored by City & State New York that he launched his probe after the problems were first pointed out in the local press.

“That case got started because journalists in Buffalo and elsewhere started to write that there were shenanigans they believe that were going on with the bidding of contracts in Buffalo,” Bharara said. “And you know what we did? We started to investigate.”

His comment prompted Jimmy Vielkind of Politico New York to tweet:

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Indeed, Investigative Post first reported on bidding irregularities in December 2014. A number of newspapers in upstate, including the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and the Times Union of Albany, published Investigative Post’s updated version of the investigation in June 2015.

Bharara, in his comments at the City & State NY event, in which he was honored as the Newsmaker of the Decade, also said:

“A lot of the greatest work that prosecutors and watchdogs do comes from the work that journalists do and I would encourage anyone who’s able to fund investigative journalism to spend money on it because it’s money well-spent and it’s good for the public.”

The full story by the Observer detailing Bharara’s remarks can be found here.

Meanwhile, Investigative Post Editor Jim Heaney appeared Wednesday on The Capitol Pressroom. Interviewed by host Susan Arbetter, Heaney discussed how state officials attempted to retaliate against Investigative Post after it broke the story about possible corruption in the awarding of Buffalo Billion contracts.

Investigative Post is an award-winning nonprofit supported in large part by donations from local foundations and large and small donors from Buffalo and Western New York. Donations can be made at this link.