As a member of the political team, Fahrenthold embarked on a deep and persistent investigation into Donald Trump’s charitable foundation and overall philanthropic giving, discovering major discrepancies between the candidate’s statements and the verifiable facts.
In addition to disclosing that the foundation had made an improper payment to a political group and was forced to pay a fine, Fahrenthold revealed that Trump had retooled his charity to spend other people’s money; resolved private business disputes by making donations from the foundation; used foundation money to acquire personal items; and failed even to properly register the foundation, a revelation that led New York officials to order it shut down.
Then he acquired the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape, arguably the most explosive development during the Trump campaign and one that elicited a statement of apology from the candidate.
For his investigative efforts, Fahrenthold won praise from the public and journalists across the country. He also distinguished The Post with his regular and lively appearances on TV and with his sophisticated and groundbreaking use of social media, enlisting Twitter and the general public in the service of his investigation.
The Ben Bradlee Prize was established in the aftermath of the revered Post editor’s death in 2014 in recognition of the values that defined his life and career, in particular to “honor the relentless and courageous pursuit of truth by an individual or team of Washington Post journalists.”