Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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

Search results for "Congress" ...

  • Opportunity Zones

    Trump’s only significant legislative achievement was his 2017 tax code overhaul. It contained a provision to help the poor, called “opportunity zones.” In 2019, ProPublica showed that while the benefits to the poor have not yet materialized, some people have already reaped the rewards: the wealthy and politically connected. We found that wealthy developers lobbied government officials and got their long-planned investments in luxury projects included in the program, despite its avowed goal of attracting new investment into poor areas. Critically, two of our stories feature areas that never should have been qualified for the program in the first place, but were allowed in by a deeply flawed implementation of the law by the U.S. Treasury Department. They were then selected by state governors after lobbying efforts by wealthy developers. Our articles, along with those of other outlets, led to Congressional calls for investigations into the designation process, as well as proposed reforms to make the program more transparent and to eliminate potential abuses by investors.
  • #UkraineDocs

    Our principal three stories — written by Smith and published on Dec. 13, Dec. 20, and Jan. 2 — revealed first that the Trump administration was hiding critical information about the potential legality of the President’s holdup of Ukraine aid, second that officials at the Pentagon were worried that the holdup violated a spending law, and third that the holdup ignited increasingly strident protests by Pentagon officials who said it was illegal and that it should have been disclosed to Congress.
  • Zombie Campaigns

    Zombie Campaigns is an in-depth look at the spending habits of 102 former congresspeople who kept spending campaign donations as if they were still campaigning well after they left office. The reporting uncovered a wealth of personal spending and shone a light on loopholes that allowed some politicians to continue spending for decades after they retired, and in some cases even after they died. Along with the story, we published a searchable database of spending by those candidates we identified as running a zombie campaign.
  • WSJ: Big Tech's Hidden Costs

    Congress and federal regulators do very little to police Amazon, Facebook and other big technology platforms that dominate the global economy and modern life. The companies say it's not their responsibility to protect consumers from online hazards, due to carve-outs in federal law for digital platforms. The Wall Street Journal investigated the many ways tech companies are passing on that responsibility—and the potential risks—to unwitting consumers. The Journal's reporting stopped Facebook from collecting sensitive personal data including users' menstrual cycles and heart rates; alerted parents to the lack of vetting for prospective nannies with police records including child abuse, sexual assault and murder; and forced Amazon to remove thousands of federally banned and unsafe products including toys with dangerous levels of lead.
  • Under Fire

    In a powerful segment for Dateline NBC, Katy Tur investigates allegations of sexual misconduct in the United States Forest Service and asks why, after decades of complaints and two congressional hearings, many female employees still feel like they are faced with a terrible dilemma – commit career suicide by reporting their experiences or stay silent and never see justice.
  • VicAd: Port Politics

    When disgraced former Congressman Blake Farenthold resurfaced as the Calhoun Port Authority's first full-time lobbyist at an annual salary of $160,000, the public was outraged. Farenthold later said in a deposition that he and the port board thought they could weather this initial storm and continue to do business as they always had outside the public view. All other state and national media quickly moved on from the story, but the Victoria Advocate kept digging and found that the public had a lot more to be outraged about.
  • The Center for Public Integrity: Tax Breaks: The Favored Few

    In February 2018, Congress passed a massive budget bill, and President Donald Trump signed it. It provided new money for the military. It funded disaster relief efforts. And it raised the nation’s “debt ceiling” — allowing the government to secure new loans. While these provisions grabbed headlines amid the chaos of what was, at best, a slapdash scramble to pass a budget and avert another government shutdown, a gaggle of goodies, benefiting a bevy of special interests, slipped into the bill’s 652 pages almost unnoticed. These goodies are called “tax extenders.” Seeing an opportunity to boldly tell an effectively untold tale, the staff of the Center for Public Integrity endeavored to explain how every tax extender — more than 30 in all — came to fruition and reveal how lobbyists gamed the political system and squeezed $16 billion worth of special favors from it. This project represented a rare example of deep investigative reporting on Congress. While hundred of reporters cover what Mitch MCConnell and Nancy Pelosi said yesterday, very few unravel how the institution of Congress is corrupted.
  • Something Suspicious in District 9

    Allegations of fraud led North Carolina’s Board of Elections to refuse to certify November election results from the 9th Congressional district. Our investigation revealed a complex ballot-harvesting operation, with people paid to collect absentee ballots from voters -- an act that is illegal in North Carolina.
  • The Orange County Register: Rehab Riviera

    Our Rehab Riviera series continued to probe the dark side of addiction treatment in California in 2018, documenting sexual assault inside rehabs and how sober homes make their money. Our work changed state and local laws, spawned a task force and arrests, and sparked Congressional Committee hearings and investigations.
  • Drivers Under Siege

    They are not police officers or firefighters, yet Bay Area bus drivers who work for the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) face some of the most dangerous working conditions with the fewest protections. Using public records and video footage, our analysis found that bus drivers with AC Transit faced more violent assaults than any other district in the San Francisco Bay Area. After we started asking questions, AC Transit announced it would test out new bus shields to protect drivers and California lawmakers introduced a federal bill in Congress with bipartisan support that will require transit districts across the country to reassess their safety measures. The new law would allocate $25 million a year for five years to pay for shields, de-escalation training, systems for transit agencies nationwide to track assault data and report that data to the Department of Transportation.