Stories

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

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Search results for "Taxpayers" ...

  • Medicaid, Under the Influence

    Medicaid, Under the Influence: A joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and NPR showed how the pharmaceutical industry has infiltrated nearly every part of the often opaque process that determines how their drugs will be covered by taxpayers.
  • Drilling Down: Big Oil’s Bidding

    When the government awards energy companies the rights to drill for offshore oil and gas, it’s supposed to make sure the American public, which owns the resources, doesn’t get screwed. The government is required by law to use “competitive bidding” and to ensure that taxpayers receive “fair market value.” However, decades of data suggest that the government has been falling down on the job, a Project On Government Oversight analysis found. Among POGO’s discoveries: Instead of taking the trouble to estimate the value of individual offshore tracts, the government has simply labeled many of them worthless and has awarded drilling rights on that basis. Energy companies have invested billions of dollars in tracts the Interior Department categorized as “non-viable”—in other words, worthless. Over the past 20 years, more than two-thirds of the leases that ultimately became energy-producing had been deemed worthless by the Interior Department.
  • You, Too - The Public Cost of Sex Harassment

    In a three-month investigation, NBC5 Investigates, Telemundo Chicago, and the Better Government Association tracked down case after case of government employees in the Chicago area, accused of sexual misconduct, harassment, abuse, assault, or even rape. We filed nearly 2,000 public records requests for documents from local governmental agencies, and – so far – found it cost taxpayers $55 million over more than 400 cases. Tracking hundreds of lawsuits, complaints, and internal investigations filed over the past ten years, we found scores of complaints with local police departments, city halls, public schools, community colleges, park districts, townships and more.
  • The New Food Economy and The Intercept: Amazon employees and the safety net

    As food stamps go online in the coming years, Amazon is poised to collect a large proportion of sales from the $70-billion program. Yet our investigation found that in at least five states, the company's own employees are disproportionately reliant on the program to feed their families. We framed these findings in contrast to the vast subsidies states and local governments provide the company in exchange for "good" jobs. Months before the conclusion of Amazon’s HQ2 search prompted mainstream outlets to wonder whether or not the company’s presence really benefits the communities that compete to host its operations, our reporting revealed that taxpayers subsidize Amazon's expansion every step of the way. It remains to be seen whether or not those investments pay off.
  • Better Government Association: Recycling in Chicago

    Chicago, long notorious for mismanaging its recycling programs, allows a private city recycling hauler to divert tons of residential plastics and paper into landfills the company owns. The situation creates an unfair system that treats residents differently depending solely on where they live, costing taxpayers twice to handle the same materials and making Chicago the worst city in the nation in terms of its recycling rate.
  • ProPublica: Inside Trump’s VA

    ProPublica held Trump accountable for his promises to veterans by investigating the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We exposed how Trump gave vast influence over the agency to three associates at his Mar-a-Lago resort who have no relevant expertise. We revealed his administration’s plans to expand the VA’s reliance on the private sector, a controversial agenda backed by the Koch brothers but opposed by most veterans. And we examined the VA’s record of using more private health care, finding that it resulted in higher costs for taxpayers and worse service for veterans.
  • NBC News: Taxpayers Financing Slumlords: Under Ben Carson, more families live in HUD housing that fails health and safety inspections

    In a three-month investigation, NBC News found that a growing number of families – more than 47,000 - were living in horrid conditions subsidized by taxpayers in properties regularly inspected by HUD; after we started asking questions, HUD announced an overhaul of its inspection system and said it is now planning to toughen inspections, which will impact millions of low-income American families.
  • Fox45: What Transparency Looks Like

    Baltimore is a city in crisis. Its murder rate is the highest in the nation. Its school system is among the lowest performing. For decades, its government has hidden behind a culture of secrecy and corruption. More than one year ago, Fox45 decided it had enough and challenged the status quo. On behalf of students, parents and taxpayers, Fox45 took the drastic step of suing Baltimore’s $1.4 billion school system - one of the nation’s largest. In the fall of 2017, when City Schools denied the entirety of a Project Baltimore public records request concerning the results of an internal grade changing investigation, Fox45 sued the school board. That internal investigation stemmed from a series of Fox45 reports which exposed a culture of grade fixing and pushing students through a broken school system. To date, Fox45 has accrued more than $100,000 in legal fees. But, so far, City Schools has been forced to capitulate. Bit by bit, over the year, they have handed over more than 10,000 pages of documents. And our fight is not over yet. The trial is scheduled for February 11. When it concludes, Fox45 will take another drastic step and send a strong message by filing a motion to recuperate our legal fees from Baltimore City Public Schools. “What Transparency Looks Like” was produced by Project Baltimore, a team of Fox45 journalists committed to a long-term investigation into Baltimore area schools.
  • CBS News: New Tax Scam Tricks

    When tax preparer Annette Kraft in Duncan, Oklahoma, checked the status of her clients' tax returns in January, she was surprised to find all of them had been rejected."The code was 902-01," she said. "That means someone else has already filed a tax return." It turns out her clients were victims of a new tax scam intended to cheat them out of their refunds, and her town was ground zero in the scam. The criminals get their hands on returns from previous years, then use that information to file new fraudulent returns on unsuspecting victims. After the refund goes into the victim's bank account, the crooks, posing as debt collectors for the IRS, follow up with a phone call claiming the refund was an error, then directing them to a fraudulent website to return the money. "I had about $9,015 more than I anticipated," said Duncan police officer David Woods. He discovered that supposed refund one day as he checked his bank balance, but it didn't make sense because he hadn't filed his taxes yet. "I didn't get my W-2 to file my taxes," Woods said. He returned the money to the government, but now the IRS says his real refund will be delayed, possibly for months. He's not alone. At the local tire shop, 49-year-old Jerry Duvall told us his $5,800 return is more than two months late. "We planned on taking care of expenses, getting caught up on bills and we counted on it," Duvall said. He missed a $200 car payment, and on the very day we spoke with him, he told us his car was getting repossessed.At least 230 of Kraft's clients have been hit and face months of delays. Taxpayers like 91-year-old Ray Prothro found out about the scam from the IRS while we were there.
  • A County In Crisis

    Our investigation in Clay County, Missouri, exposed possible misuse of taxpayers’ funds, questionable credit card expenses, slashed budgets, infighting among elected county officials and the mishandling of a program designed to ensure the indigent receive a proper burial. We learned the body of one indigent woman sat in the morgue for a year.