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FBI allowed informants to commit 5,600 crimes

A USA Today report states that the FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation's top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.

Unjustified | Newsday
“Report reveals how cop shot unarmed man - and kept his job.”

Secret files reveal how pay-to-play works in N.J. | The Star-Ledger
“A special report by The Star-Ledger exposes how one politically connected engineering firm parlayed campaign donations into millions of dollars in public contracts, all the while keeping the scheme hidden from the public. An analysis of the records, meticulously kept and numbering 137 pages, found Birdsall made more than 1,000 secret campaign contributions worth in excess of $1 million to politicians of all stripes and in all corners of New Jersey. At the same time, the company cashed in on more than $84 million in public contracts.”

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. Did we miss something? Email suggestions to

Female workers face rape, harassment in US agriculture industry | The Center for Investigative Reporting
“Hundreds of female agricultural workers have complained to the federal government about being raped and assaulted, verbally and physically harassed on the job, while law enforcement has done almost nothing to prosecute potential crimes.”

Under the Curse of Cartels | The Oregonian
“In a nine-month investigation, The Oregonian has learned that Mexican cartels, including the powerful Sinaloa and the brutal Los Zetas, have infiltrated almost every corner of Oregon. At last count, authorities were aware of no fewer than 69 drug trafficking organizations selling drugs in the state, nearly all supplied by cartels.”

Computer Industry, Unions Big Donors to Immigration Bill Supporters |
“The 27 senators who voted against the amendment, which strengthens border security but is also a step towards passing the overall immigration package, on average received very little money from those three types of groups, but did receive heavy support from donors in the agribusiness industry.”

Top Medicare prescribers rake in spending fees from drug makers | ProPublica
“Data obtained and analyzed by ProPublica suggest another factor in the drug Bystolic's rapid success: Many of the drug's top prescribers have financial ties to Forest Laboratories, its maker.”

Sodomy Hazing Leaves 13-Year-Old Victim Outcast in Colorado Town | Bloomberg News
“High-school hazing and bullying used to involve name-calling, towel-snapping and stuffing boys into lockers. Now, boys sexually abusing other boys is part of the ritual. More than 40 high school boys were sodomized with foreign objects by their teammates in over a dozen alleged incidents reported in the past year, compared with about three incidents a decade ago, according to a Bloomberg review of court documents and news accounts.”

In Debate Over Military Sexual Assault, Men Are Overlooked Victims | The New York Times
“In a debate that has focused largely on women, this fact is often overlooked: the majority of service members who are sexually assaulted each year are men.”

Tom Shephard, a political consultant for Bob Filner, a Democrat running for mayor of San Diego, noticed a lot of full page newspaper ads attacking his client; ads that he was quoted $8,000 for.

"Amita Sharma and Ryann Growchowski, with inewsource and KPBS, audited ads in the San Diego Union-Tribune every day between Labor Day and Election Day 2012 and compared the list with campaign finance records. The results show varied payments for ads, indicating the U-T may have offered bargains to the anti-Filner campaign and to other candidates and issues the newspaper endorsed."

Update: California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has said that "an investigation has been opened on this matter," regarding UT San Diego's political ad rates during the 2012 election season.

In an attempt to bust criminal operations in Milwaukee by purchasing drugs and guns from felons the ATF set up a storefront sting.

However, "the effort to date has not snared any major dealers or taken down a gang. Instead, it resulted in a string of mistakes and failures, including an ATF military-style machine gun landing on the streets of Milwaukee and the agency having $35,000 in merchandise stolen from its store, a Journal Sentinel investigation has found."

"In the latest installment in USA TODAY's "Ghost Factories" series, reporter Alison Young examines who is responsible for cleaning up lead contamination around old lead smelter sites."

In the first of two articles by The New York Times is has been revealed that there have been "failures to protect garment workers in poor countries", such as Bangladesh, "who make much of the world’s clothing" including brands for Walmart.

"A federal judge has issued three key rulings over a four-year period that favored companies in which he owned stock, a California Watch analysis has found."

"Measures are in place to prevent judges from violating federal conflict-of-interest laws. But Judge Manuel Real, a 46-year veteran of the bench appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, appears to have skirted those safeguards, records and interviews show."

"The Environmental Protection Agency is re-examining more than 460 former lead factory sites across the USA for health hazards left by toxic fallout onto soil in nearby neighborhoods."

"The massive effort, a result of a USA TODAY investigation, involves locations in dozens of states and has already identified several sites needing further investigation and some so dangerous that cleanups are being scheduled, according to records and interviews with state regulators."

The Indiana Department of Child Services director, James W. Payne, fought to discredit and derail his agency’s recommendations in a child neglect case involving his own grandchildren, the Indianapolis Star reported. The story is based on the newspaper’s review of hundreds of pages of documents from DCS legal filings, investigation reports, monthly status reports submitted by guardians and therapists, as well as police and court records. After the investigation, many – including the state’s Democratic candidate for governor – are calling for his resignation.

"Over two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public."

"A Los Angeles Times review of 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 has found that Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign — and helped many cover their tracks."

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