Extra Extra : September 2012

Obama cabinet failing at FOI requests

"In June, more than 30 Bloomberg reporters filed Freedom of Information Act requests with 57 agencies for the travel records of top administrators and cabinet secretaries. Three months later, only about 30 percent of the cabinet-level agencies had gotten back to the reporters with documents, and only one cabinet-level agency responded within the legal 20-day window."

Sports complex to replace cargo terminal in San Diego, may be hidden motives

"When a wealthy hotel developer bought San Diego’s biggest newspaper last year, one of the first things he did was declare his vision on the front page of the paper. Doug Manchester, together with his business partner John Lynch, are determined to see a new football stadium and sports complex replace a cargo terminal at the downtown waterfront."

"In their series, Port Authority, the KPBS/I-Newsource Investigations Desk examines how Manchester and Lynch are flexing their political muscle to see their vision through. The investigation unearths how Manchester may gain personally from the development."

NJ state police rely heavily on opinion, rather than exams, for promotions

"The New Jersey State Police are one of only two statewide law enforcement agencies in the country to rely almost entirely on the opinion of supervisors for promotions, a practice most discarded years ago in favor of more objective written and verbal exams."

"A Star-Ledger survey found that the Rhode Island State Police, with a force a fraction the size of New Jersey’s, was the only other to use such a subjective system. But even there, one high-ranking official said he is expecting changes."

Extra Extra Monday: Weekend highlights

IRE is introducing a roundup of the weekend’s many enterprise stories from around the country. We’ll highlight the document digging, field work and data analysis that made their way into centerpieces in print, broadcast and online from coast to coast.

Did we miss some? Let us know.  Send us an email at web@ire.org or tweet to @IRE_NICAR. We’ll add it to the list and spread the word.

Dayton Daily News
OSU president expenses in the millions

Daily News reporter Laura A. Bischoff fought a year-long FOIA battle to get hold of Ohio State University President ...

Read more ...

The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer investigate inflated prices on cancer drugs

In a joint investigation, The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer of Raleigh found that large nonprofit hospitals in North Carolina are dramatically inflating prices on chemotherapy drugs at a time when they are cornering more of the market on cancer care.

The newspapers found hospitals are routinely marking up prices on cancer drugs by two to 10 times over cost. Some markups are far higher.

It’s happening as hospitals increasingly buy the practices of independent oncologists, then charge more – sometimes much more – for the same chemotherapy in the same office.

Here is the Observer's story. And here ...

Read more ...

Law enables over-production of Oregon medical marijuana, enabling traffickers to exploit state program

The illicit trafficking of Oregon medical marijuana is widespread and highly lucrative, according to The Oregonian's analysis of highway stops, police reports and federal and state court records. Exploitation of the 14-year-od program is made possible by lax state oversight and loose rules lead to the production of far more pot than a typical patient needs, the newspaper found. Nearly 40 percent of Oregon pot seized on the nation's most common drug-trafficking routes during the first three months of this year was tied to the medical marijuana program. Dozens of trafficking prosecutions involve medical marijuana cardholders with existing ...

Read more ...

Why some medical professionals charge more than others

"Medicare has emerged as a potent campaign issue, with both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney vowing to tame its spending growth while protecting seniors. But there’s been little talk about some of the arcane factors that drive up costs, such as billing and coding practices, and what to do about them."

"The Center for Public Integrity's 21-month investigation documents, for the first time, how some medical professionals have billed at sharply higher rates than their peers and collected billions of dollars of questionable fees as a result." 

Use of interactive timeline shows failed project, lack of city oversight

"The Lansing (Mich.) State Journal spent more than two months gathering and reviewing public records to determine how city leaders in East Lansing handled construction of a downtown mixed-use building, not far from Michigan State University, after a portion of the unfinished building collapsed and it was discovered that the developer had started construction without a building permit and added an unauthorized fifth story."

Law enables over-production of Oregon medical marijuana, enabling traffickers to exploit state program

The illicit trafficking of Oregon medical marijuana is widespread and highly lucrative, according to The Oregonian's analysis of highway stops, police reports and federal and state court records. Exploitation of the 14-year-old program is made possible by lax state oversight and loose rules lead to the production of far more pot than a typical patient needs, the newspaper found. Nearly 40 percent of Oregon pot seized on the nation's most common drug-trafficking routes during the first three months of this year was tied to the medical marijuana program. Dozens of trafficking prosecutions involve medical marijuana cardholders with existing ...

Read more ...