Ailsa Chang

Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who covers Congress for NPR. She landed in public radio after spending six years as a lawyer.

Since joining NPR in 2012, Chang has covered battles over immigration, the healthcare law, gun control and White House appointments. She crisscrossed the country in the months before the Republican takeover of the Senate, bringing stories about Washington from the Deep South, Southwest and New England.

Chang started out as a radio reporter in 2009, and has since earned a string of national awards for her work. In 2012, she was honored with the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her investigation on the New York City Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" policy and allegations of unlawful marijuana arrests by officers. The series also earned honors from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists.

She was also the recipient of the Daniel Schorr Journalism Award, a National Headliner Award, and an honor from Investigative Reporters and Editors for her investigation on how Detroit's broken public defender system leaves lawyers with insufficient resources to effectively represent their clients.

In 2011, the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association named Chang as the winner of the Art Athens Award for General Excellence in Individual Reporting for radio.

The former lawyer served as a law clerk to Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.

Chang graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University where she received her bachelor's degree.

She earned her law degree with distinction from Stanford Law School, where she won the Irving Hellman, Jr. Special Award for the best piece written by a student in the Stanford Law Review in 2001.

Chang was also a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University, where she received a master's degree in media law. And she has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Prior to coming to NPR, Chang was an investigative reporter at NPR member station WNYC from 2009 to 2012 in New York City, focusing on criminal justice and legal affairs. She was a Kroc fellow at NPR from 2008 to 2009, as well as a reporter and producer for NPR member station KQED in San Francisco.

Chang grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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5:02pm

Tue April 21, 2015
It's All Politics

In Latest Outbreak Of Bipartisanship, Senate Compromises On Trafficking Bill

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 9:53 pm

Sen. Mitch McConnell (right) walks with Sen. John Barrasso to a news conference about the compromise Tuesday.
Evan Vucci AP

A logjam over an anti-human trafficking bill has finally broken in the Senate. Senate negotiators reached a deal after a long impasse over language on abortion funding. The compromise clears the path to a confirmation vote for attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch — a vote Republicans had delayed until after the trafficking bill gets resolved.

It took about six weeks, but the Senate deal on human trafficking was the latest outbreak of bipartisanship in a month that's seen compromises on Iran, Medicare and education.

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4:21pm

Tue April 14, 2015
Politics

Helping Bridge Congress' Iran Divide, Sen. Ben Cardin Moves Into Spotlight

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 7:45 pm

Cardin, right, confers with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. during a committee markup meeting on the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran Tuesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

It was a fluke that turned Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland into the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez got hit with criminal charges and gave the rank up. Now, just two weeks into his new gig, Cardin has helped bridge the divide on legislation letting Congress weigh in on a nuclear deal with Iran. The bill thrust a man without flash or hubris into the spotlight.

The way his rabbi puts it, Democrat Ben Cardin isn't how you'd picture a senator.

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6:04am

Thu April 2, 2015
Law

Menendez 'Outraged' By His Indictment On Corruption Charges

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 5:10 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A powerful senator from New Jersey has been indicted on federal corruption charges - eight counts bribery - after accepting gifts from a Florida doctor in exchange for favors. NPR's Ailsa Chang has the story.

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6:53am

Fri March 27, 2015
Politics

Senators Endure Vote-A-Rama With Coping Mechanisms

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 2:23 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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3:42pm

Fri March 20, 2015
It's All Politics

Budget Reconciliation Explained Through Chutes And Ladders

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 7:58 pm

Think of reconciliation as the biggest ladder in the game Chutes and Ladders — a procedural shortcut. But a presidential veto of whatever gets passed through reconciliation means tumbling back down a chute.
Ben Husmann Flickr

There's a word you're going to be hearing a lot as Congress tries to pass a budget this year: reconciliation. It's a procedural fast-track lawmakers get to use after they approve a budget. Republicans are hoping to repeal the Affordable Care Act — or, at least parts of it — through reconciliation, but they're not likely to win that game.

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4:37pm

Mon March 16, 2015
It's All Politics

Missed Abortion Language Tangles Senate's Trafficking Bill

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 8:01 pm

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won't let the chamber vote on Loretta Lynch — the nominee to become the next attorney general — until the Senate passes its human trafficking bill.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

A once widely supported Senate bill that would create a fund for human trafficking victims has hit a snag over language Democrats say they didn't know was in the bill — a provision that would bar funds collected under the measure from being used to pay for abortions. And the impasse over that language now threatens to delay other Senate business, like confirming a new attorney general.

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6:28pm

Fri March 13, 2015
It's All Politics

Who Is Tom Cotton, The Man Behind The Iran Letter?

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 1:33 am

Tom Cotton, R-Ark., the freshman senator and Harvard graduate senator with a record of tough talk on foreign policy.
Carolyn Kaster AP

The man behind a letter 47 Senate Republicans addressed to Iranian leaders this week is a freshman senator who's been in the chamber just over two months. Tom Cotton was the unusual GOP candidate last fall who thrilled both the Tea Party base and the Republican establishment.

And now, the young Iraq War vet is a rapidly rising star among his new colleagues.

All week – even against a crescendo of backlash about the letter – there were still plenty of Senate Republicans gushing about the youngest member of their chamber.

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5:36pm

Fri March 13, 2015
Politics

Tom Cotton: The Freshman Senator Behind The Iran Letter

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 8:00 pm

Freshman Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who has been in office barely two months, penned an open letter to Iranian leaders this week that 47 Republican senators signed. NPR profiles the Harvard-trained lawyer and Iraq War veteran.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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5:28am

Thu March 12, 2015
Politics

Congressional Approval For Military Fight Against ISIS Faces Uphill Battle

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 7:37 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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5:20am

Tue March 10, 2015
Politics

GOP Senators Remind Iran That Nuclear Deal Needs Their Backing

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 7:45 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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