Lee Fang

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Lee Fang
Education BA, Government from University of Maryland
Occupation Advocacy journalist

Lee Fang is an American journalist. He is a reporting fellow at The Nation Institute and a contributing writer at The Nation.[1][2] Fang is a former senior investigator at progressive advocacy outlet[3] the Republic Report and a former investigative blogger for ThinkProgress.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Fang's hometown is in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He attended college at the University of Maryland, College Park, graduating with a B.A. in government and politics. In college, Fang served as President of the Federation of Maryland College Democrats, editor of the Maryland College Democrat blog, and on the Campus Progress Advisory Board. Fang interned with ThinkProgress and served as a researcher for Progressive Accountability. As an undergraduate, Fang also interned for Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD), for progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America, and for the lobbying firm Westin Rinehart.[5]

Work with ThinkProgress[edit]

Fang published several articles where he alleges that special interests manipulated the media reaction to the Occupy Wall Street protests.[6][7] Fang has been interviewed about Tea Party strategy documents.[8]

Accusations against United States Chamber of Commerce[edit]

On October 5, 2010, Fang wrote a story on ThinkProgress, where he alleged that the United States Chamber of Commerce funded political attack campaigns from its general fund, which solicits funds from foreign sources. Fang stated that the chamber is "likely skirting longstanding campaign finance law that bans the involvement of foreign corporations in American elections."[9]

The story was covered in Politico.[10] The U.S. Chamber of Commerce denied Fang's charge, stating on its website that "no foreign money is used to fund political activities. All allegations to the contrary are totally and completely false."[10] Nevertheless, they decline to provide details as to how they avoid co-mingling of funds.[11] Fang discussed the story on National Public Radio,[12] and on MSNBC with Keith Olbermann. Fang told Olbermann that the Chamber is "going to foreign businesses and foreign individuals, saying, 'if you send us checks, you'll have a voice in American public policy debates.' They're sending those checks to the same bank account used for the attack ads."[13][14]

Reporting on Allen West[edit]

Fang's reporting about Florida Congressional representative and Tea Party advocate Allen West, who called for the censorship of U.S. journalism based on publication of leaked documents from Wikileaks, was picked up by CBS News.[15]

Reporting on Koch Industries[edit]

In April 2011, Fang wrote an article titled "The Contango Game: How Koch Industries Manipulates The Oil Market For Profit," in which he said “Koch Industries occupies a unique role in manipulating the oil market.”[16] The story was soon after picked up by CBS.[17]

Fang has previously written about Charles and David Koch,[18][19] and he was involved with a Robert Greenwald documentary titled Koch Brothers Exposed.[20]

Politico wrote that "Fang’s relentless chronicling of the Koch brothers have made him something of a star on the left," while noting his "efforts to portray the political activities of the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch as motivated by a desire to boost their profits - an argument even some liberals reject as an overly simplistic caricature."[21]

Political views[edit]

Fang has been described as a "liberal" by the New York Times, and as both "liberal" and "progressive" by Salon.[22][23] According to Fang, "I like hanging out with fully grassroots Tea Party activists because, for the most part, whatever their motivations are, they’re just upset about society and they want to do something about it which, at the core, I respect even though I pretty much disagree with their worldview."[24]


  • Lee Fang, The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right New York: The New Press, 2013.[25]


  1. ^ "Lee Fang". The Nation Institute. Retrieved October 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Lee Fang". The Investigative Fund. Retrieved October 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ Shakir, Faiz. "Farewell to our Friends and Colleagues Matt Yglesias and Lee Fang". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Lee Fang". Republic Report. 
  5. ^ "Advisory Board". Campus Progress. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Julia La Roche (2011-10-10). "Blogger Tries To Smear Occupy Wall Street Critics By Tying Them To A Hedge Funder". Business Insider. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  7. ^ Ungerleider, Neal (2011-09-21). "Occupy Wall Street: Tahrir Over Here?". Fast Company. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  8. ^ Etheridge, Eric (August 4, 2009). "Fight in August". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  9. ^ Fang, Lee. "Exclusive: Foreign-Funded 'U.S.' Chamber of Commerce Running Partisan Attack Ads". ThinkProgress.Org. 
  10. ^ a b Chris Frates (10/05/2011). "Chamber of Commerce Under Fire for Foreign Cash". Politico. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  11. ^ "The Chamber and Foreign Contributions"". Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Gross, Terry; Kramer, Melody (October 7, 2010). "'Citizens United' Ruling Opened Floodgates On Groups' Ad Spending National Public Radio". NPR.org. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Tuesday, Oct. 5th - MSNBC - Countdown with Keith Olbermann". NBC News. 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  14. ^ Poor, Jeff (2010-10-06). "Soros-Funded Think Progress, MoveOn Grumble Over Foreign Donations | Media Research Center". Mrc.org. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  15. ^ Madison, Lucy (December 14, 2010). "Incoming GOP Rep. Allen West: News Outlets Publishing WikiLeaks Should Be Censored - Political Hotsheet". CBS News. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  16. ^ Fang, Lee (2011-04-13). "The Contango Game: How Koch Industries Manipulates The Oil Market For Profit". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  17. ^ Sherter, Alain (April 15, 2011). "Contango Lesson: How Koch Industries Raises Gas Prices". CBS. Retrieved October 2, 2012. 
  18. ^ Cynthia Stead (2011-04-21). "Revealing insights in media reform". CapeCodOnline.com. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  19. ^ People and Power (March 29, 2012). "The Koch Brothers - People & Power". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  20. ^ "Lee Fang". Koch Brothers Exposed. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  21. ^ Smith, Ben; Vogel, Kenneth (4-12-2011). "Center for American Progress news team takes aim at GOP". Politico. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  22. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (2013-2-23). "A Conservative Provocateur, Using a Blowtorch as His Pen". New York Times. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  23. ^ Greenwald, Glenn (2012-07-30). "Free speech and donations". Salon. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Lee Fang talks about his book "The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right" & corporatist influence in the U.S.". Eclectablog. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  25. ^ Fang, Lee (2013). The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right. New York. ISBN 9781595586391.