David Burnham — a writer, investigative reporter and researcher — is the co-founder and co-director of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse and an associate research professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
TRAC, a data-gathering and distribution organization associated with the university, began operating in 1989. Concrete government information, much of its obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, has been central to Burnham’s work as both a reporter and a researcher.
He started as a reporter in 1958, working for UPI, Newsweek, CBS News and other organizations. From 1968 to 1986, he was an investigative reporter with The New York Times in New York and Washington. He has written three books and numerous magazine articles. His most recent book, Above the Law: Secret Deals, Political Fixes, and Other Misadventures of the U.S. Department of Justice, was published in January 1996 by Scribner. His investigative book on the Internal Revenue Service — A Law Unto Itself: Power, Politics and the IRS — was published in 1990 by Random House. A third book, The Rise of the Computer State, was published in 1984.
Over the years, Burnham has received a number of professional honors, including the George Polk Award for Community Service, Long Island University, 1968; the Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship, 1987; the Best Investigative Book of 1990, Investigative Reporters and Editors, 1990; and the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, Bellagio, Italy, 1992. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in Humane Letters from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.