Extra Extra : October 2010

St. Louis businessman has spent millions on Missouri campaigns

Joe Yerardi, of the Columbia (Mo.) Missourian, found that retired St. Louis businessman Rex Sinquefield has spent millions to bankroll numerous campaigns in Missouri in the past two years. "The donations, which total more than $13.3 million, are the result of Sinquefield's personal wealth, his ideological passions and Missouri's lax campaign finance laws, experts and politicians say." His donations have been bipartisan, though favoring Republican campaign committees nearly 3-to-1.

X Prize winner in financial trouble

Trafficking, sexual exploitation of Haitian children on the rise

A report by The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald shows that human trafficking and sexual exploitation of Haitian children are on the rise in the Dominican Republic following January's devastating earthquake in Haiti. "Since the earthquake more than 7,300 boys and girls have been smuggled out of their homeland to the Dominican Republic by traffickers profiting on the hunger and desperation of Haitian children, and their families. In 2009, the figure was 950, according to one human rights group that monitors child trafficking at 10 border points."

Background checks for Idaho educators unreliable

In a report by Ben Botkin of the Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho), found that the state's system for completing background checks on teachers fails to give school districts a full picture of the applicant's background. The problem came to light after a Times-News investigation found that a teacher charged with sex crimes had a prior record of misdemeanors that school officials were unaware of, despite the state background check.

The Hidden Life of Guns series

The Hidden Life of Guns, a year-long investigation by The Washington Post, traced guns recovered in crimes in the region. The Post's analysis found a small number of gun stores in the region were linked to a vast majority of the guns recovered in crimes. "Since 1992, more than 2,500 guns recovered by police and tied to crimes in the Washington area have been traced back to their original sale at Realco Guns in Forestville, Md. The total is four times that of the dealer with the next highest number of gun traces." In Virginia, 60 percent of ... Read more ...

Outside groups give Republicans edge in election spending

Jonathan D. Salant of Bloomberg News found vulnerable House Democrats outraising their opponents, only to see outside groups making up the financial disparity. "Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 20, Republican-leaning outside groups that aren’t limited in the amount of money they are allowed to spend on candidates paid out $118 million, while those backing Democrats spent $45 million."

Dollars for Doctors investigation

ProPublica, NPR, PBS's Nightly Business Report, the Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe and Consumer Reports teamed up for "Dollars for Doctors," an investigative project that found a hundreds of doctors being paid to promote pharmaceuticals have a history of misconduct.  "Their misconduct included inappropriately prescribing drugs, providing poor care or having sex with patients.  Some of the doctors even lost their licenses.  More than 40 have received FDA warning for research misconduct, lost hospital privileges or been convicted of crimes.  And at least 20 more have had two or more malpractice judgments or settlements."

Wayne County has failed to pay out nearly $4 million in restitution payments

An investigation by the Detroit Free Press has found that Wayne County "has collected nearly $4 million in court-ordered restitution from convicted burglars, sex offenders and other criminals but failed to pay that money to thousands of their victims." While county officials have claimed that victims are difficult to locate, the investigation found that county officials have not even attempted to track them down.

Harmful care a pattern at Chicago care facility

A Chicago Tribune investigation uncovered a pattern of harmful care at Alden Village North, a Chicago home for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Thirteen times in the last decade, residents have died under circumstances that led to state citations for neglect or failure to investigate. Instead of cracking down, regulators have allowed the problems to worsen. Two days after the second day of the series was published Gov. Pat Quinn ordered a health monitor be placed at the troubled Chicago facility and instructed his staff to draft legislation to address the problems.