David A. Fahrenthold, the Washington Post reporter who investigated President Trump’s charity and broke the news of Trump’s “Access Hollywood” video, was honored Monday night with the prestigious Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.
Fahrenthold’s extensive series on the Trump Foundation aimed to match Trump’s claims of big charitable giving with actual records. It revealed there was often a chasm between Trump’s rhetoric and reality.
Fahrenthold reported that Trump’s charity was largely set up not to spread around the business mogul’s own money but rather the dollars of donors. Fahrenthold also investigated the foundation’s contribution of $25,000 to aid the political campaign of Florida’s attorney general at a time when her office was deciding whether to pursue an investigation of Trump University — despite a ban on charities contributing to political causes.
Fahrenthold’s reporting showed how the Trump Foundation was used to resolve Trump’s personal business disputes and even to pay for personal items, including a six-foot-tall portrait of Trump himself that was bought for $20,000.
Trump in December announced plans to shut down the foundation “to avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as president.” New York’s attorney general had already announced an investigation into the foundation.
Fahrenthold was also the reporter behind arguably the most explosive story of the 2016 campaign: A years-old tape featuring Trump speaking about women in lewd and graphic terms while on a bus with Billy Bush, then a host of “Access Hollywood.” Trump would later apologize for his comments while also dismissing them as “locker room talk.”
Fahrenthold has won several awards for his work on the 2016 campaign, including the George Polk Award from Long Island University, the inaugural Ben Bradlee Award from The Washington Post, and a Sidney award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.
The Toner Prize is awarded by Syracuse University and is named for Robin Toner, the first woman to serve as a national political reporter for the New York Times. Toner died of colon cancer in 2008.