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 "District of Columbia" ...

  • A David and Goliath Battle

    The submitted stories are the result of a two-month investigation into the legal and financial status of The GW Hatchet, the independent student-run newspaper at The George Washington University. MediaFile discovered that The Hatchet had been embroiled in a nearly two-year court battle against the District of Columbia over a disputed property tax bill.
  • DC Council Contracts

    Lawmakers in the District of Columbia routinely approved lucrative city contracts for businesses that made hefty campaign contributions at the time of the contract vote. That was one of the most eye-opening findings of a months-long investigation by WAMU and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University. It’s a power unique among state legislatures in the country; every contract worth a million dollars or more must be approved by the 13-member council. There was little oversight of this process until reporter Patrick Madden and students from the Workshop started delving into these contracts. The team analyzed nearly a decade worth of public records — and over 100,000 campaign contributions — to find out which companies were winning contracts and how much campaign cash they gave to the council members approving their contracts.
  • Inside Sysco: Where Your Food is Really Coming From

    Sysco Corporation is the world’s largest food distributor. It’s a $43 billion dollar publicly traded corporation that supplies restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, and many other food facilities with everything from raw meat and dairy to fruits and vegetables. The company’s motto is “Good Things Come from Sysco.” But this yearlong investigation exposed the company’s widespread practice of storing fresh food in dirty, unrefrigerated, outdoor storage lockers for hours, before it was delivered to unsuspecting customers across Northern California. Employees across the U.S. and Canada later revealed that these sheds were part of the company’s food distribution practices for over a decade. The investigation uncovered a widespread network of sheds in places including Washington, Utah, Illinois, Tennessee, New York, Maryland and the District of Columbia stateside, in addition to Ontario and British Columbia in Canada.
  • Justice Obscured

    In its nine-month investigation, "Justice Obscured," the Center for Public Integrity evaluated the disclosure rules for judges in the highest state courts nationwide. The level of disclosure in the 50 states and the District of Columbia was poor, with 43 receiving failing grades, making it difficult for the public to identify potential conflicts of interest on the bench.
  • Homes for the Taking: Liens, Loss and Profiteers.

    In the nation’s capital, predatory investors took hundreds of homes from the elderly and poor over tax debts as small as $44 in a devastating series of foreclosures unchecked by city leaders. In 2013, The Washington Post launched an unprecedented investigation of the District of Columbia’s century-old tax-lien program, finding investors who routinely tacked on thousands in fees to tax bills, turning $500 delinquencies into $5,000 debts and making it impossible for families to save their homes. A 95-year-old church choir leader lost her house while she was in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s. So did a flower shop owner in a coma. “Homes for the Taking” outraged the District like few other scandals in years, with city leaders immediately approving reforms to protect the city’s most vulnerable homeowners.
  • District of Columbia tax office scandal

    The District of Columbia struck an unprecedented number of deals behind closed doors this year with prominent commercial property owners who had appealed their tax assessments, reducing the city's tax base by $2.6 billion. The settlements were kept from the public for months until The Washington Post started mining public records and filing FOIAs, which the city routinely denied until the newspaper's lawyers got involved. The Post also learned that city leaders had kept critical internal audits about the tax office in "draft" format to prevent their release under FOIA. Through sources, The Post obtained the undisclosed reports -- along with a dozen other audits that had been kept from public view -- and published the findings for the first time. The series prompted the City Council to change the law to require the tax office to immediately make public all of its reports -- bringing a new level of transparency to a once secretive agency. The Securities and Exchange Commission also launched a probe to see if the city had kept critical findings from audits used to determine bond ratings. The inquiry is ongoing.
  • Forensic Science

    A nine-month investigation found that Justice Department officials had known for years that flawed forensic evidence might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people but had not performed a thorough review of the cases. In addition, prosecutors did not notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled, forcing innocent defendants to stay incarcerated or on parole. The Post identified two District of Columbia men convicted largely on the flawed forensic work and testimony of FBI hair analysts who wrongly placed them at crime scenes. Since the Post report, both men have had their convictions vacated and judges have taken the unusual steps of fully exonerating the men so they can seek compensation from the government. As a result of The Post’s work, the Justice Department is reviewing more than 21,000 FBI Laboratory cases handled before 2000 to identify convictions that might merit exoneration, re-trial or re-testing of evidence.
  • D.C. Tax Office Scandal

    The District of Columbia struck an unprecedented number of deals behind closed doors this year with prominent commercial property owners who had appealed their tax assessments, reducing the city's tax base by $2.6 billion. The settlements were kept from the public for months until The Washington Post started mining public records and filing FOIAs, which the city routinely denied until the newspaper's lawyers got involved. The Post also learned that city leaders had kept critical internal audits about the tax office in "draft" format to prevent their release under FOIA. Through sources, The Post obtained the undisclosed reports -- along with a dozen other audits that had been kept from public view -- and published the findings for the first time. The series prompted the City Council to change the law to require the tax office to immediately make public all of its reports -- bringing a new level of transparency to a once secretive agency. The Securities and Exchange Commission also launched a probe to see if the city had kept critical findings from audits used to determine bond ratings. The inquiry is ongoing.
  • UDC

    The 16-part investigative series exposed out-of-control spending by the president of the University of District of Columbia, the only publicly-funded university in the nation's capital. The story shows how the university president used taxpayer dollars on first-class travel, a luxury automobile and home renovations... all when he was doubling student tuition.
  • UDC

    An exposure of out-of-control spending by the president of the University of District of Columbia, the only publicly-funded university in the nation's capital. The investigation showed how President Allen Sessoms used taxpayer dollars on first-class travel, a luxury automobile and home renovations, all while he was doubling student tuition.