Resource Center

Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364573-882-3364  or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.



Search results for "Federal Government" ...

  • Just sign here: Federal workers max out at taxpayers' expense

    FMCS is a tiny independent federal agency whose director's first order of business was to use federal funds to buy artwork from his own wife, $200 coasters and champagne. The agency paid $85,000 to the phantom company of a just-retired official for no services; spent $50,000 at a jewelry store, supposedly on picture frames to give its 200 employees "tenure awards;" and leased its people $53,000 cars. Large portions of its employees routinely used government credit cards for clearly personal items after merely requesting to have them “unblocked” from restricted items, according to 50,000 pages of internal documents obtained by the Washington Examiner--raising questions about purchase card use in other agencies. Federal employees were charging cell phones for their whole families and cable TV at not just their homes, but their vacation homes too, to the government. Its IT director has had hundreds of thousands of dollars of high-end electronics delivered to his home in West Virginia, and there is no record of many of those items being tracked to federal offices. Many other items billed are highly suspect, such as $500 for single USB thumb drives that retail for $20. Virtually all of its spending circumvented federal procurement laws. When employees pointed out rulebreaking, Director George Cohen forced one accountant to write a letter to the GSA retracting her complaint, had another top employee walked out by armed guards, and fired another whistleblower, a disabled veteran, for missing a day of work while she laid in the ICU. At an agency the size of FMCS, where corruption went to the top, there were no higher levels to appeal to, no Inspector General, and--previously--no press attention.

    Tags: Fraud; spending

    By Luke Rosiak

    Washington Examiner

    2013

  • Washington’s Open Secret

    The Government shut-down lasted 16 days, took $24 billion dollars out of the U.S. economy and furloughed 800,000 federal employees. But there was one group in Washington that was able to maintain the lavish lifestyle that many of them have grown accustomed to- Members of Congress.

    Tags: Government shut-down

    By Jeff Fager

    60 Minutes

    2013

  • Death and Dysfunction at VA

    In four original investigative reports (plus follow-ups) examining the Veterans Health Administration, CBS News uncovered serious problems surrounding patient care at VA facilities across the country. We uncovered patient deaths due to the mismanagement of an infectious disease outbreak at the Pittsburgh VA. We discovered VA doctors across the country felt pressured to prescribe strong narcotic painkillers to veterans instead of treating the underlying cause of their pain (narcotic prescriptions at VA are up 259% since 2002). We found veterans are dying at a 33% higher rate than the general population of accidental prescription narcotic overdose. We interviewed a VA doctor who was retaliated against for blowing the whistle on a dangerous shortage of mental healthcare providers at the Wilmington VA. We also found VA administrators are receiving large bonuses from the federal government despite serious allegations of poor patient care at the hospitals they oversee.

    Tags: None

    By Scott Pelley

    CBS News

    2013

  • Return to Benghazi

    In Return to Benghazi, Arwa Damon takes viewers back to the scene of a deadly embassy attack by unknown assailants. Damon's landmark reporting in this program led the U.S. to name the first suspect believed to be involved in the attack. On the night of September 11, 2012, four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens were killed. It was a violent, well-coordinated attack that shocked the world. No one took responsibility for the killings. Libyan and U.S. officials did not know who to blame. A political firestorm erupted in the U.S. amongst lawmakers demanding to know what U.S. officials knew about the leadup to the attack. CNN's Arwa Damon arrived in Benghazi just days after the attack to cover the story. She spoke to witnesses and visited the compound where the Ambassador lived. It was there where she found Ambassador Stevens' diary. The FBI and the Libyan government vowed to find those responsible and bring them to justice, but justice did not come swiftly. It would be weeks before FBI teams would inspect the crime scene. Months passed and still no suspects were identified. Several months after the attack, Arwa Damon goes back to Benghazi to get an update on the investigation. She finds a changed city where westerners have fled and citizens face unexplained violence. Militias increasingly rule the streets and security forces struggle to keep control. Even more omonous, are the alarming signs of support for Al Qaeda that have emerged in less than a year. Damon tracks down the headquarters of Ansar Al Sharia, a group many Libyans and U.S. officials suspected might be behind the attack, but the group isn't talking. She also speaks to a Libyan rebel intelligence chief who blames a factions of Al Quada for the attack. The government is reluctant to move against either of them. In a rare interview, Arwa Damon sits down with a man U.S. officials have often suggested they would be interested in speaking to about the night of the attack: Ahmed Abu Khattala. He admits to Damon that he was at the compound that night while the attack was taking place. He also tells her no one from the FBI had tried to contact him, but that he would be willing to meet with them if it was a conversation and not an interrogation. After the program aired, an outraged U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz told reporters, "News out today that CNN was able to go in and talk to one of the suspected terrorists, how come the military hasn't been able to get after them and capture or kill the people? How come the FBI isn't doing this and yet CNN is?" U.S. federal authorities then filed charges against against Khattala, suspecting him for being involved in the attack. Arwa Damon's reporting in Return to Benghazi not only showcased the powerful investigative journalism that CNN is known for, but it also sparked movement in the stalled investigation of the September 11, 2012 embassy attack.

    Tags: Benghazi; al-qaeda; 9/11

    By Jon Adler

    CNN

    2013

  • New egg safety plan shows cracks in the system

    It’s been almost three years since more than 500 million eggs were recalled in 2010 because of an outbreak of Salmonella that caused nearly 2,000 illnesses - the largest outbreak of its kind on record. Yet under a new egg safety plan approved shortly before the recall, all egg production facilities are still not inspected as required by the plan.

    Tags: Salmonella outbreak; eggs; food safety; egg safety plan; government reports; inspection records; recall data; federal oversight agencies

    By Sam Robinson

    Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

    2013

  • Brian Ross Investigates: A Murder, A Mobster and the FBI

    This story started as a local news investigation into a stolen car but quickly revealed a tale of corruption inside the federal government, with national implications. We found a former Russian mobster, operating a thriving luxury car business in Florida, had been accused of various crimes by consumers - but that those crimes were not pursued by local police. In looking further at Mani Chulpayev, we found he had been a highly-regarded government informant, snitching on those in the Russian crime world. In return, it appeared he was being given a pass for crimes he continued to commit himself. As a result, the FBI has launched an investigation into the agent who was Chulpayev's handler for years. And Chulpayev now awaits trial for what prosecutors say was his role in the murder of a local hip-hop artist, amid allegations that the murder investigation had stalled for a year due to his handler's interference.

    Tags: FBI; Mani Chulpayev

    By Brian Ross

    ABC News

    2013

  • Explosion at West

    Tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at a central Texas plant exploded last April with the force of a small earthquake. The blast came just two days after the Boston Marathon and, in the national media, was overshadowed by events in the Northeast. While not the result of a terrorist attack, the explosion in West, Texas, was far larger and deadlier, and raised more significant public safety issues. In a series of investigative reports over eight months, The Dallas Morning News revealed that ammonium nitrate remains virtually unregulated by federal and state governments, despite its well-known explosive potential. (Timothy McVeigh used it in 1995 to blow up an Oklahoma City federal building.) Efforts to strengthen oversight have been blocked by industry lobbyists and government gridlock, The News found, even as the Pentagon sought bans on ammonium nitrate in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In pro-business, anti-regulation Texas, the federal government’s lax oversight meant no oversight at all. West Fertilizer Co. – scene of the disaster – violated almost every safety best practice. No state agency was charged with preventing an ammonium nitrate blast. There was no public registry of companies that handled the compound, even though many facilities are near homes and schools. Texas prohibits most counties from having fire codes and does not require facilities like West to obtain liability insurance. Gov. Rick Perry and other state politicians, who created this wide-open environment, washed their hands of the problem. They said West was a tragic accident that no amount of regulation could have prevented. The News’ findings, however, proved otherwise.

    Tags: West Fertilizer Co.; Safety; State agency; Texas; Gov. Rick Perry

    By Maud Beelman

    Dallas Morning News

    2013

  • Revealing the Cost of Government Contractors

    Federal procurement actions, whether for information technology, consulting services or project management, occur in a black box, closed off to the public and opaque to the inquiries of journalists and the public. For the most part, failures of these contractors remain low profile. That is, until the calamitous launch of Healthcare.gov, when the public saw firsthand--on a website that millions needed to use to secure health insurance--how badly these highly paid, politically connected firms and the federal employees who supposedly oversee them had done their handiwork.

    Tags: government contractors; federal procurement actions; information technology; consulting services; project management; Healthcare.gov; federal employees; Affordable Care Act

    By Kathy Kiely; Peter Olsen-Phillips

    Sunlight Foundation (Washington, D.C.)

    2013

  • The Suspicion Within

    Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans’ phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.

    Tags: NSA; Obama administration; federal employees; Insider Threat Program; U.S. national security; Peace Corps; Social Security Administration; Education and Agriculture departments; classified material

    By Marisa Taylor; Jonathan S. Landay

    McClatchy Newspapers

    2013

  • Undisclosed Hazards

    While methamphetamine production has been on the rise in New York and Pennsylvania, there are no federal or state rules about what makes a former meth lab clean, and no law requiring landlords or property sellers to disclose to renters or buyers that a property was once a meth lab. Employees at state or local government agencies contacted for the report thought other state or local agencies are responsible for overseeing or mandating cleanup, but the task is mostly left to local code enforcement departments, who have no guidance from their states.

    Tags: methamphetamine; New York; Pennsylvania; federal; state; meth lab; government agencies; legislators

    By Jason Whong

    Star-Gazette (Elmira, N.Y.)

    2013