Jacob Payne


Meticulous. Persistent. Proven.
Hire me to conduct your research when results matter.

I typically work with attorneys, journalists, hiring committees and political or issues campaigns - regardless of partisanship (Note: If you're racist or homophobic, please move along.)

That work includes but is not limited to:

  • Creation of research books and opposition research for candidates
  • Campaign finance-related efforts and assistance in the development of related complaints or reports
  • Background research for public and private hiring committees
  • Research for journalists in need of a particular skillset or network of resources
  • Open records research and consultation
  • Getting to the bottom of scandal and corruption - no matter how large or small
  • Expertise In:

  • Freedom Of Information Act
  • Kentucky Open Records/Sunshine Law and related statutes
  • Federal Election Commission and campaign finance regulation
  • Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (KRS 121.x)
  • Opposition and background research strategy
  • Whistleblower and source protection
  • Kentucky Education Professional Standards (including EPSB and OEA-related matters) and education ethics
  • Legislative processes at the state and federal level
  • Media and public archive navigation
  • Working relationships with:

  • Attorneys
  • Judges
  • Elected officials
  • Local, state, federal law enforcement
  • Established media
  • Legislative staffers

  • Kentucky obviously has my heart and my strongest contacts are in the Commonwealth. I frequently work in Washington, D.C. and regularly on the west coast. Abroad, I have experience and strong working relationships in Canada, the UK, Sweden and in Southeastern European nations like Bosnia and Croatia.


    Nerd Skills:

  • Data forensics and recovery
  • Content Management Systems and enterprise-level hosting
  • Linux – command line and server management
  • Customized single-board computing development and deployment (think Raspberry Pi geek stuff)

  • That means I can do high-tech nerd stuff other researchers can't. Running a business as an investigative journalist and researcher for more than a decade meant I had to use those skills on a daily basis. I didn't just write the story... I also built the system that hosted it. There's no hiring a separate developer to find corruption when you work with me – I dig through code myself. Need physical data collection on any sort of scale? I'm the guy who builds single-board computers with sensor arrays and LTE modems that will fit anywhere. Yes, really:

    Shady agencies don't get away with lying to me about data-related matters because I'm a nerd and know my way around modern government better than most. TL;DR: Get you a researcher who can do both.

    Want privacy? I'll sign non-disclosure agreements (even for journalists/reporters) or work through attorneys. Utilize secure communication protocols that include Signal, Tor and PGP.

    Some common sense stuff: If you're the victim of a crime? Call police. If you need an attorney? Call an attorney. I am not a private investigator and do not want to be. I am an investigative journalist-turned-researcher.