Extra Extra

Extra Extra Monday: Mysterious documents, consumer protection flaws, unlicensed religious homes

Welcome to IRE's 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.

PBS Frontline
Mysterious Docs Found in Meth House Reveal Inner Workings of Dark Money Group
"Found in a meth house in Colorado, they were somewhat of a mystery, holding files on 23 conservative candidates in state races in Montana. They were filled with candidate surveys and mailers that said they were paid for by campaigns, and fliers and bank records from outside spending groups. One folder was labeled 'Montana $ Bomb.'"

The Orange County Register
Flaws found in state consumer protection enforcement
"An Orange County Register investigation has found that the state’s network of 36 consumer protection agencies has systemic flaws that may actually encourage lenient settlements and, ultimately, undermine public safety. A Register analysis of three years of enforcement proceedings found that three of the state’s key health care boards agreed to penalties below their own recommendations in dozens of cases where patients had been killed or permanently injured." 

The Minneapolis Star Tribune
For regulators, sand mine riches are tough to refuse
As the sand rush intensifies, county regulators are being hired away by the industry, creating backlogs of work and fears of conflicts of interest.

The Denver Post
Xcel's faulty connection
'The company's SmartGridCity would manage power flows, allow more wind and solar on the grid, and enable consumers to control electricity consumption. Xcel chose Boulder for the ambitious plan. Five years later, few of the promises are fulfilled. Costs nearly tripled to $44.5 million, and Xcel wants its Colorado customers to foot the bill ...  The Denver Post reviewed thousands of pages of company documents and transcripts of testimony filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and interviewed Xcel executives to piece together a picture of what happened with SmartGridCity."

The Tampa Bay Times
In God's Name: Unlicensed religoius children's homes
"The Tampa Bay Times spent a year gathering thousands of pages of public records and interviewing dozens of young adults who passed through the unlicensed group homes that operate in Florida."

The Oregonian
States don't often share child-abuse records. And sometimes kids like Jeanette Maples die.
An investigation by The Oregonian finds child welfare workers in different states often fail to communicate about a family's history or a child's needs. Federal law directs states to cooperate in child abuse investigations, foster care placements and interstate adoptions.

KING 5 Seattle
Thousands of ‘crime guns’ go untested in Washington
An investigation by KING 5 Television in Seattle finds that police departments across WA are not conducting what should be routine tests on thousands of “crime guns” locked away in their evidence rooms.  The state crime labs encourage such tests because they can link guns to crimes that investigators never knew were connected and produce leads that identify suspects.  The television station found that the ballistics tests are the best technology that police department’s aren’t using. 


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