Damon Chappie, 40; Journalist Uncovered Capitol Hill Corruption
Damon Chappie, 40, a Capitol Hill investigative reporter who uncovered congressional corruption even after losing his eyesight, died Friday in a Washington hospice. The cause was congestive heart failure and other health problems.
Since 1995, Chappie had worked for Roll Call, a small but influential newspaper that examines the inner workings of Capitol Hill. Chappie’s investigations, based on documents uncovered through the Freedom of Information Act, his long list of contacts and occasionally direct confrontation, involved ethical conflicts surrounding former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), former Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).
Chappie was named an “unsung hero” of Washington journalism by the American Journalism Review in 2002.
He was a native of Reading, Pa., and was educated at the University of Pennsylvania. He worked for the Bureau of National Affairs, a business news publisher in Washington, from 1987 until joining Roll Call.
In 1997 he contracted a fungal infection in Mexico, causing his blindness a few months later. He also had hemophilia, and a tainted blood transfusion gave him HIV and hepatitis.