This Semester

David Cay Johnston
David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and best-selling author who since 2009 has taught legal theory and principles at Syracuse University College of Law, although he is not a lawyer and has no college degree.

During his 13 years with The New York Times, Johnston was called “the de facto chief tax enforcement officer of the United States,” “one of America’s most important journalists,” and “the equal of the original muckrakers: Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell, and Upton Sinclair.”

At age 19 he became a front-page staff writer for the San Jose Mercury, later reporting for the Detroit Free Press, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, and a columnist for Reuters and Tax Analysts.

Johnston’s two most recent books were global bestsellers: It’s Even Worse Than You Think (2018) and The Making of Donald Trump (2016). He has covered Trump since 1988, longer than any other journalist.

Johnston’s next book will propose a new federal tax system for the 21st Century economy.

He is the only journalist whose reports forced a broadcast chain to shut down over news manipulations.

Perfectly Legal, the first book in his American economy trilogy, was named the 2004 investigative book of the year.

Johnston served as president of Investigative Reporters and Editors president from 2012-14.

He is cofounder of, a nonprofit  news service that covers what the President and Congress do, not what they say.

Johnston, a California native and father of eight, has lived in Rochester, N.Y, since 1993 with his wife, Jennifer Leonard, the CEO of the $500 million Rochester Area Community Foundation.

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