Kaplan earned a BA at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master of Journalism degree from University of California, Berkeley. She is a prize-winning investigative reporter who focuses on the intersection of politics, money and public health. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Politics Daily, Discover, The Nation, The Washington Monthly, and The New Republic, among other publications. She spent many years in Washington, DC, covering lobbying and money-in-politics for a variety of media outlets, among them: Legal Times, ABC News, NBC News, MSNBC on the Internet and PBS.
Her documentary, "Justice for Sale," co-produced with Bill Moyers for FRONTLINE, revealed the corrupting influence of campaign cash on the judicial system; and her earlier documentaries focused on money in federal campaigns. More recently, Kaplan has produced investigative pieces examining the impact of lobbying on public policy, especially on environmental issues, for Dan Rather Reports and for the American University Investigative Reporting Workshop. Kaplan is now finishing a book on industry capture of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the subsequent release of neurotoxicants into the environment. The book will be published by Nation Books, an imprint of Basic Books, and grew out of her 2011-2012 fellowship year project, "The economy of influence shaping American public health and the environment: Documenting institutional corruption at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with emphasis on the intersection of EPA, regulated industries, their lobbyists and Congress. "
Next year, Sheila Kaplan will help develop a television and web series, Institutional Corruption in America, based on the work of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. The goal of the series is to bring the Center's work to a wider audience by broadcasting compelling stories showing citizens how institutional corruption hurts them, personally.