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 "FBI investigation" ...

  • Puerto Rico After the Storms: Recovery and Fraud

    U.S. taxpayer are footing the biggest bill ever for a natural disaster, $91 billion, going to a government mired in corruption and under FBI investigation. We are the only news program that we know of to tackle and extensively report on how much has been promised and how little has actually been received in the wake of hurricanes Maria and Irma. We travelled to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, learning there has been a great deal of misreporting and misunderstanding about these numbers, which were not easily accessible. To get at the true amounts, we obtained and examined federal and territory documents, pressed the governor’s office, and interviewed officials responsible for the aid including Puerto Rico’s top hurricane recovery official and FEMA’s top official in Puerto Rico. During our visit, there was a popular uprising against the government followed by the governor's resignation, and additional FBI arrests of U.S. and Puerto Rican officials and contractors.
  • PublicSource: Revelations of police technology problems spark FBI scrutiny, alleged retaliation and unfinished work

    For the first time, PublicSource reported how Pittsburgh's reform-minded police chief touched off an FBI investigation into how city employee's handled software contracts. Included were projects that were never implemented by 2018, though they were fully paid for five years earlier using federal funds. The federal investigation ended without any charges, but internal investigations in the city were ongoing. A former officer also claims he faced retaliation for reporting concerns about tech projects, specifically from one of the city's highest ranking public safety officials. He is currently suing the city over several of the same concerns first publicly reported in our stories. Our stories led directly to internal changes in city purchasing and increased scrutiny of purchasing by City Council.
  • Allentown FBI investigation

    On July 2, FBI agents raided Allentown City Hall, looking for documents connected with a host of businesses and other entities that received city contracts. It was clear that agents suspected a pay-to-play scheme had been in the works for several years. The first thing The Morning Call’s city hall reporter, Emily Opilo, did was cancel her plans for the Fourth of July holiday, since she knew this story needed her complete attention. For the next six months, Opilo – along with reporters Scott Kraus, Matt Assad and Paul Muschick – scrutinized each entity on the FBI’s subpoena list. Going contractor by contractor, they used the state’s Right-to-Know Law to gather bid sheets, requests for proposals, meeting notes and contracts. Using state and federal campaign finance reports, they matched each contractor against contributions made to Allentown’s mayor when he ran for re-election in 2013, for governor in 2014 and for U.S. Senate in 2015. In each case, contractors also were donors. Often, those that didn’t get contracts were found not to have donated to the mayor’s campaigns.
  • The secret world of government debt collection

    CNNMoney’s report, The Secret World of Government Debt Collection, exposes an industry rife with political corruption, aggressive tactics and legal loopholes. In this world, forgotten tolls can snowball into hundreds of dollars in debt and unpaid speeding tickets can land people in jail. We found that thanks to legal exemptions, collectors working for government agencies typically don’t have to follow the main federal law that regulates the debt collection industry, and state consumer protection laws often don’t apply either. All of this opens the door for steep fees that other debt collectors couldn’t dream of charging, and allows them to threaten consequences as dire as arrest. The report focused on one of the industry’s biggest players, Texas-based law firm Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. Through our reporting, we uncovered this little-known firm’s massive influence and controversial political ties. For example, Linebarger spends more on state lobbying than Texas giants Exxon and Halliburton, and it pours millions of dollars into political campaigns. It even has current elected officials on its payroll and has become entangled in multiple bribery scandals. CNNMoney discovered it is also currently linked to an ongoing FBI investigation. But Linebarger continues to rake in lucrative government contracts, making its top executives and founders rich while the debtors it goes after are left scrambling to pay its steep fees. And because firms like Linebarger are powered by government agencies, consumers are left with little recourse.
  • Mob Arrests

    Our story involved the Italian mafia, ties to the Gambino crime family, heroin, pineapples, and a late night police run in southern Italy. This story was the result of years of following the FBI’s pursuit of drug traffickers, working sources and building solid relationships with police officials. It is almost unheard of for the FBI to give journalists access to any kind of operations in a foreign country. This was an important breakup of a major international drug ring and due to our exclusive access were able to provide the American people with a rare behind the scenes view of this story.
  • DeKalb County's Climate of Corruption

    This investigation revealed a local government teeming with corruption, including kickbacks and theft of taxpayer dollars. They exposed rampant spending with no oversight, first through the use of county purchasing cards, then with an invoice payment system that also lacked controls. Their investigation caught county officials spending their discretionary budgets on airline tickets, family vacations, gift cards, cell phone bills, high-end electronics and other personal expenses. One commissioner even paid a speeding ticket and funneled tens of thousands of dollars to her boyfriend. Their reporting led to an ongoing FBI investigation, a guilty plea from a longtime county official, and pending subpoenas that could yield even more indictments. County leaders have enacted new spending policies and strengthened their board of ethics.
  • Medicare Unmasked

    The "Medicare Unmasked” series examined the $600 billion Medicare program, stemming from The Wall Street Journal’s legal and journalistic efforts to prod the government to publicly release doctor-billing data that had been kept secret for decades. A team of Journal reporters created numerous programs to analyze the government numbers, using them to spin out articles that uncovered medical abuses that cost taxpayers. The series had big impact. The CEO of a large laboratory resigned under pressure soon after the Journal revealed it used a controversial medical practice. The Journal also broke news of an FBI investigation into a medical practice the newspaper had identified as collecting far more from Medicare for a single procedure than any other medical provider. And an ousted Walgreen executive sued the drugstore giant alleging widespread Medicare-related abuses there, citing a Journal article that revealed a $1 billion forecasting error in Walgreen’s Medicare business. The Journal has been widely recognized for its Medicare efforts. Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times Public Editor, praised the Journal for its “time, expense and persistence” in pursuing the once-secret Medicare data, calling it a “cornerstone of investigative reporting."
  • Courthouse Drug Scandal

    This is coverage of a courthouse drug scandal involving the death of one state judge due to cocaine toxicity and an FBI investigation that led to federal drugs and weapons charges against another sitting state judge who headed the County Drug Court.
  • Death in Police Custody

    An investigation into the death of a man who suffocated while in the back of a Milwaukee police squad car found officers had violated department policy in not seeking help and the medical examiner missed key signs pointing toward the officers’ actions being a factor in the death. The stories prompted a wave of action and reform: new departmental rules, a public inquest, an FBI investigation and the resignation of the medical examiner.
  • Louisiana Horror Movie

    “Louisiana’s Horror Movie” grew out of our 2011 IRE award winning investigation “Hiding Behind the Badge”. That series ended with the guilty pleas of former Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle and businessman Aaron Bennett. Through investigative determination, “Louisana’s Horror Movie” uncovered possible public corruption by a former FBI agent and looked at his questionable relationship with the Hingle. What led us to this discovery was a piece of “Hiding Behind the Badge” we felt had not been fully explored: the money Hingle made from the B.P. oil spill. Even after the initial stories were reported, we felt there was more there. So we kept digging. It wasn’t February of 2012 that we uncovered Hingle's ties to former FBI agent, Robert Isakson. We requested emails, looking for more information to connect the dots. We had to fight the current sheriff’s office for the emails and eventually got them. The emails helped us show an improper relationship between the Hingle and Isakson – now a businessman getting contracts from Plaquemines Parish. This series eventually launched another FBI investigation, this time with Isakson in the crosshairs.