By Mark Schoofs
Mr. Schoofs is the editor in chief of BuzzFeed News and a visiting professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.
Last Thursday, President Biden vowed to make global financial systems more transparent so that individuals and organizations engaged in corruption would find it harder to “shield their activities.”
On the same day, a federal judge imposed prison time on Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a former Treasury Department official who, by providing secret government documents to an investigative reporter, did more to bring transparency to the global financial system than almost anyone else in recent memory.
If Mr. Biden really wants to fight corruption and bring transparency to global finance, he should pardon Ms. Edwards. He should also demand that the Justice Department, when deciding whether to prosecute someone who provides journalists with sensitive information, take into account the public importance of what the disclosures reveal.
In Ms. Edwards’s case, the public importance of the information she provided was enormous. Starting in 2017, she passed thousands of government documents to the investigative reporter Jason Leopold at BuzzFeed News (where I was the investigations editor at the time). She said repeatedly that her goal was to expose wrongdoing after she had tried, without success, to draw attention to it through the proper channels.