The past two decades, through his work at the Center for Public Integrity and since then, Lewis has been systematically investigating the origins and abuses of power in relation to the public policy decision-making processes in the United States and around the world. For example, in 1996, 2000 and 2004, he and his colleagues at the Center authored the popular and unprecedented The Buying of the President books, identifying the financial interests and unadvertised past behind the glossy candidate careers - always released for citizens before any votes were cast.
From 1999 through 2004, Lewis and his colleagues created a new way of monitoring and reporting on corruption, government accountability and openness around the world, culminating in a 750,000-word report prepared by 200 social scientists and journalists in 25 countries on six continents. This project spawned a new, nonprofit organization, Global Integrity, which Lewis co-founded.
Since 2005, he has been preparing his sixth book about the relationship between truth, political and corporate power and the national news media. He has been researching the origins and trajectory of public relations and propaganda, deception by government and companies, and the truth-telling capacity of journalists and their news organizations. This book will be published in May 2014. As part of this work, since 2007, he has conducted audio and video recorded interviews with some of the most respected U.S. reporters and editors whose independent reporting has had a significant impact on our nation's history since 1950. Investigating Power was released at the National Press Club in 2012 and is an ongoing work-in-progress.
Lewis also has been exploring new economic models to create and deliver investigative journalism, in and outside the United States, which is one of the two core missions of Investigative Reporting Workshop, which he initiated and leads. He is interested in attempting to expand the public space and economic potential for investigative reporting around the world. He has a longstanding interest in the subject: in 1997, Lewis began the Center's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the first network of 100 of the world's premier investigative reporters in 50 countries (Now 175 journalists in 60+ countries), collaborating to produce across-border, award-winning, public service journalism.
Fellow, Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University