Washington, DC


Investigative journalist outlet

Executive Director:

Nick Surgey

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

Note: Not to be confused with Documented (New York City), a news site reporting on policy trends impacting immigrants in New York City.

Documented is an investigative journalism group that targets right-wing groups and corporations, particularly regarding environmental policy matters.

Documented’s “investigations series” include “The Republican War on Democracy,” an exploration of so-called “dark money” in climate politics, and the growth of the “Trump-aligned” Conservative Partnership Institute.


Documented is cited routinely by left-leaning news outlets, including the Washington PostNew York TimesNational Public Radio (NPR), MSNBC, and CNN. 1 2 It has “partnerships” with other left-wing news groups, including the Guardian, the Intercept, Mother Jones, Popular Information, and ProPublica. 3

In September 2022, Documented revealed emails written by Ginni Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, urging Wisconsin State Senator Kathy Bernier (R-WI) and Assemblyman Gary Tauchen (R-WI) to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election through a public records request. 4 The Washington Post ran the story. 5

In August, NPR ran a story on the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a think tank staffed and run by numerous high-level supporters of former President Donald Trump. The article cited an audio tape leaked to Documented of CPI urging its followers to join poll watching groups before the 2022 midterm elections. 6

Also in August, the New York Times ran a story on Republican state treasurers operating a “coordinated effort” to fight climate change legislation on behalf of energy companies. The Times based its investigation on thousands of pages of documents acquired by Documented and cited a Documented senior researcher. 7

Structure and Funding

Documented’s website does not contain any information about its structure or funding except that it has a Patreon 8 and “does not receive any funding from corporations, trade associations or governments.” 9


Documented executive director Nick Surgey is a left-wing investigative reporter who also works at the Intercept. He has previously worked at the Center for Media and Democracy and as staff counsel at Common Cause, where he led an investigation targeting the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Supreme Court Ethics project. 10

Deputy executive director Brenden Fischer is a lawyer who worked at the Campaign Legal Center as director of federal reform. Previously, he also worked at the Center for Media and Democracy and did investigative work targeting ALEC. 11

State outreach director Lekha Shupeck previously worked as the North Carolina state director of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. Previously, she was a statewide advocacy and campaign manager at the ACLU of North Carolina, and an assistant manager for social media at progressive advocacy group Together We Can North Carolina. Earlier in her career, Shupeck did campaign work, including for Charles Francis’s (D) unsuccessful mayoral campaign in Raleigh, North Carolina. 12


  1. “About Us.” Documented. Accessed September 15, 2022.
  2. “Documented.” Twitter. Accessed September 16, 2022.
  3. “Partnerships.” Documented. Accessed March 16, 2023.
  4. “Ginni Thomas Emails to Wisconsin Lawmakers Urging Them to Overturn 2020 Election.” Documented. September 1, 2022. Accessed September 16, 2022.
  5. Brown, Emma. “Ginni Thomas pressured Wisconsin lawmakers to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory.” Washington Post. September 1, 2022. Accessed September 16, 2022.
  6. Dreisbach, Tom. “Experts say a Trump-backed charity is pushing boundaries of tax law.” NPR. August 31, 2022. Accessed September 16, 2022.
  7. Gelles, David. “How Republicans Are ‘Weaponizing’ Public Office Against Climate Action.” New York Times. August 5, 2022. Accessed September 16, 2022.
  8. “Documented.” Patreon. Accessed September 15, 2022.
  9. “About Us.” Documented. Accessed September 15, 2022.
  10. “Nick Surgey.” The Intercept. Accessed September 15, 2022.
  11. “Brenden Fischer.” LinkedIn. Accessed September 15, 2022.
  12. “Lekha Shupeck.” LinkedIn. Accessed September 15, 2022.
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Washington, DC