Extra Extra : April 2012

Former UTSW Medical Center president used taxpayer money on lavish lifestyle

"The investigation details a collapse in controls over taxpayer dollars and triggered a University of Texas system internal inquiry that found many of the same problems."
*IRE members can access the stories, behind the paywall, by contacting lauren@ire.org

White House sought healthier school lunches, food industry fought back

Duff Wilson and Janet Roberts, for Reuters, report on "how food and beverage companies have dominated policymaking in Washington by doubling their lobbying expenditures during the past three years and defeating government proposals aimed at changing the nation’s diet."

Reuters Investigates TV also produced a video about "how the food industry fought back when the White House sought healthier school lunches and Congress directed federal agencies to set nutrition standards."

Keeping tabs on super PACs and super donors

"To keep tabs on super PACs, and as of today, super donors, The Center for Public Integrity has a project to "out" the shadowy political organizations that have flourished in the wake of the Citizens United ruling."

Consider the Source "provides narrative to behind the flow of money and how the election is influencing a flood of new spending." To see their latest donation/spending figures, click here.

UConn absorbed nearly $3 million in unsold Bowl Championship Series tickets

Mac Cerullo, of The Daily Campus, reports that the "University of Connecticut sold fewer tickets to the 2011 Fiesta Bowl than any other public school that has appeared in the Bowl Championship Series over the past three years, according to bowl documents obtained."

Cerullo found that the school ended up absorbing nearly $3 million in unsold tickets. Analyzing data from the past three years, it was discovered "the only other school that absorbed more that $1 million in ticket sales during that period was West Virginia at the 2012 Orange Bowl. The Mountaineers absorbed $1.1 million"

N.J. state troopers led unauthorized high-speed caravan

Wal-Mart de Mexico bribery case silenced by top executives

A New York Times investigation into Wal-Mart has revealed that top Wal-Mart executives may be focusing more on damage control when they should be rooting out wrongdoing.

"In 2005, after a senior Wal-Mart lawyer learned that the company’s largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico, had orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance, Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery." A lead investigator wrote of the findings: “There is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated.” However, Wal-Mart's leaders shut-down the investigation. And only ...

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Despite receiving tax breaks, some North Carolina nonprofit hospitals still deny care

In a joint investigation The News & Observer of Raleigh and The Charlotte Observer published the first of a five-part series that looks into the state's nonprofit hospitals. The series, "Prognosis: Profits," shows how urban hospitals are piling up huge profits and driving up the cost of health care.

The two papers worked together from the same databases and shared information, but tailored the stories for their regions.

Editor and reporter targeted by a misinformation campaign

"After investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors, A USA TODAY reporter and editor have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites."

"Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were also registered in their names."

Are U.S. border agents crossing the line?

"In partnership with the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute, Need to Know investigates whether U.S. border agents have been using excessive force in an effort to curb illegal immigration."

"The report raises questions about accountability because border agents are part of the Department of Homeland Security and therefore are not subjected to the same public scrutiny as police officers who use excessive force. It also questions whether, in the rush to secure the border, agents are being adequately trained. And it raises the question: why aren’t these cases being prosecuted?"

EPA fails to warn families of lead contamination where smelters once stood

"USA Today’s investigative team found the EPA failed to tell people about or take action on hundreds of former lead smelting sites they’d known about for years. Alison Young and Pete Eisler tested the soil around former plants in 13 states and found potentially dangerous levels of lead remain in people’s yards and in parks."

This multi-part look into long-forgotten lead factories includes nearly 370 site-related documents, using DocumentCloud; video interviews with parents whose children play in their lead contaminated back yards; an interactive map telling you where smelters once were in your area; tips on how ...

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