Daniel G. Newman

President and Co-Founder

Daniel, a national expert on government accountability and money in politics, has led Decode Democracy since its founding as MapLight in 2005. Newman has appeared in hundreds of media outlets, including CNN, CBS, MSNBC, FOX Business, and NPR. He led a ballot measure campaign establishing public funding of elections in Berkeley, California, and was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. He is the author of Unrig: How to Fix Our Broken Democracy from Macmillan/First Second Books.

Newman’s innovative use of technology to reveal influence on government earned him recognition as a World Affairs Council Civic Innovator in 2014. He has led the organization to awards including a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism; a James Madison Freedom of Information Award; a Library Journal Best Reference Award; and a Webby Award nomination for Best Politics Website.

Previously, Newman was an entrepreneur and political organizer. He authored three books on speech recognition software and founded Say I Can, a speech recognition firm. He has served as a consultant to various political and nonprofit groups, including the Center for Voting and Democracy, Israel Venture Network, and the Mental Health Association of San Francisco.

Newman received an MA degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, where he attended on a National Science Foundation Fellowship and researched how people think about political and ethical issues. He holds a BA degree in biomedical ethics from Brown University where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Newman was a 2011-2013 Edmond J. Safra Network Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, addressing the issue of institutional corruption.

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Alec Saslow

Communications Director

Alec leads strategic communications and media outreach. Previously, Alec managed communications activities, including campaign strategy and media relations, for a variety of non-profit organizations in Washington, D.C. Alec is a Colorado native and holds a B.A. in Public Relations from Syracuse University.

Ann Ravel

Policy Director

Ann leads the development and promotion of Decode Democracy’s policies to tackle online disinformation in politics. She served on the Federal Election Commission from 2013 to 2017, holding the roles of vice chair and chair. Ann previously chaired the California Fair Political Practices Commission, acted as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice, and served as Santa Clara County Counsel for over a decade.

Ann also served as an Adjunct Professor in Campaign Finance Law at UC Berkeley Law School, and has written book chapters and Op-Eds in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, the San Jose Mercury News, and others, as well as appearing on TV, radio, and other media on the subject of digital deception. Ann received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Bergen Smith

Data Analyst

Bergen collects evidence of support and opposition to bills making their way through Congress from corporations and also works on various data projects surrounding campaign finance and democracy reform efforts. He graduated from California State University, East Bay with a M.S. in Economics and from Whitworth University with a B.A in Philosophy. Bergen is a Bay Area native who enjoys getting outdoors whenever he has the chance.

Chad Outler


Chad tracks legislation as it travels through the legislative process, assembling evidence of support or opposition to bills on the part of companies and other interest groups. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Political Science. A native of Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, Chad now resides in Northern Virginia with his wife Sara, two dogs, and two cats.

Frank Bass

Contributing Editor

Frank Bass is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter whose career has focused on the intersection of government, politics and business. He is a pioneer in data-driven investigations who has worked at the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Al Jazeera. Bass has lectured extensively on four continents and is the author of three books. He lives in southern Vermont.

Laura Curlin

Research Director

Laura Curlin oversees the organization’s research and data projects. Her work includes analyzing the money behind our political system, developing tools to make campaign finance data more accessible, and ensuring the accuracy of the databases. Her work is focused on federal and California campaign finance data, but has included research in a variety of states, counties, and cities. Previously, she worked to pass a public campaign financing ballot measure in 2016 as treasurer of the Berkeley Fair Elections Coalition. Her previous experience also includes work on the Transparency in Political Spending Act as a member of Rhode Islanders for Fair Elections. Laura received a B.A. from Brown University with concentrations in Political Science and Middle East Studies.

Laurie Moskowitz

Senior Advocacy Advisor

Laurie leads Decode Democracy’s advocacy and campaign work including The Coalition to Fight Digital Deception. Laurie is a 25-year veteran of both political campaigns and advocacy where she has put her management, grassroots, and partnership skills together for hundreds of candidates and non-profits including the Democratic National Committee, The ONE Campaign, and the presidential campaigns of Vice President Al Gore, Sen. John Kerry, Honorable Hillary Clinton, and President Obama. Laurie was also the Founder of Fieldworks, one of the nation’s premier grassroots communications and field-strategy firms.

Nancie McCraw

Director of Engineering

An experienced engineering leader, Nancie oversees software development, technical infrastructure, and other engineering work. Nancie incorporates diversity, inclusion, and accessibility into the engineering and architectural vision of her teams. Nancie has extensive experience in the government space, including with the City of Asheville, North Carolina and supporting the National Centers of Environmental Information at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Nancie and her spouse enjoy their home in the mountains of western North Carolina with their cats, and sometimes, sheep.

Tien Lu

Program Manager

Tien manages Voter’s Edge, a comprehensive online California elections guide, and produces content and communications about online disinformation for Decode Democracy. Her background includes a diverse range of experiences in social justice and arts nonprofits, from racial justice and arts activism to oral history and community engagement. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and an MA in Social Documentation from U.C. Santa Cruz.

Yael Mazor-Garfinkle

Digital Manager

Yael oversees digital strategy and communications. Previously, she worked on the Massachusetts ballot measure campaign to enact Ranked Choice Voting and has worked as a marketing consultant for candidates and nonprofit groups in the Boston area. She holds a B.A. in Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies from Brandeis University and a M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communication from Emerson College.

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