Dave Levinthal

Dave Levinthal

'02 BA (PPhil)

Senior Political Reporter
Center for Public Integrity

Dave Levinthal is currently a Senior Political Reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization that specializes in government and political accountability reporting. He leads the federal politics reporting team. Originally from Buffalo, NY, he currently resides in Washington, DC. He received his BA in Political Philosophy from Maxwell in concurrence with a BS in Newspaper Journalism from SU's Newhouse School in 2002.

Levinthal says that the 2016 presidential election has been central to his most recent work. His work has focused on how money and "influence peddlers" are shaping the election. Last month, he published a piece entitled "How 'Citizens United' is helping Hillary Clinton win the White House," which he says "involved dozens of interviews, thousands of documents, a commissioned poll and about three months worth of work, from beginning to end." 

Levinthal says one day does not mirror the next, which he says is an "attractive aspect" of his current career. Some days, he says he may be working on a long-term project, others he may be doing some editing, and others he may be conducting a video conference with a college class or sitting down with CSPAN.

While completing his studies at Syracuse University, Levinthal was covering the New Hampshire Statehouse for the Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, Mass., from 2000 to 2002. After he graduated, he worked for the Dallas Morning News, covering Dallas City Hall, national elections, and aviation security from 2003 to 2009. From 2009 to 2011, David edited OpenSecrets.org, a nonpartisan and nonprofit group that tracks the effect of money on U.S. government and politics. His most recent job experience, prior to his current role, was his role at Politico as a campaign finance and lobbying issues reporter, in addition to his co-authoring of the daily Politico Influence column.

During his time at Syracuse, he "was certain I wanted to become a political journalist," and took advantage of opportunities to build the skills to pursue this goal, such as editing the Daily Orange. His coursework in political philosophy gave him the background necessary to do the work that he does today, and has done in his past career endeavors, as he says it is "critical to my ability to understand the workings of political systems, such as how lengthy election campaigns are waged, or how legislative battles are fought." 

Levinthal recalls two political science professors. "Rogan Kersh, now provost at Wake Forest University, also opened my mind to the works of American political thinkers and philosophers I may have otherwise overlooked," he says. He also stays in touch with Grant Reeher, who is still on the Maxwell faculty, serving as director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute.

Before entering his freshman year, he placed third in the Maxwell Citizenship Scholarship Competition, which gave him a partial scholarship. Additionally, he received a dean's scholarship, which helped him graduate without a burdensome amount of debt.

Levinthal offers current students an invaluable piece of advice, "At Syracuse, I perhaps spent a touch too much time heeding my own counsel, as I hounded the Chancellor, interrogated student government presidents and otherwise prioritized the passionate pursuit of news. But John Stuart Mill would be proud: I also experienced high pleasure from deep thought about the headiest of political and ethical matters. I’d come to appreciate this line of study as one of the most rewarding aspects of my undergraduate years. And I’d encourage all students to afford themselves similar intellectual opportunities, regardless of what they think they need from their college education."