Stories

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

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Search results for "WAMU" ...

  • WAMU 88.5: "Collateral Damage"

    The WAMU 88.5 series “Collateral Damage” chronicled the impact in human terms of the Washington, D.C., police department’s aggressive focus on confiscating illegal guns. The investigation explored how tactics used by police to search for guns are angering and alienating the very residents they are sworn to protect, especially in D.C.’s predominantly black neighborhoods where police focus these efforts.
  • Assault On Justice

    When you hear the charge “assaulting a police officer,” you might assume that an officer has been hurt or injured while serving the community. But in D.C., you might not be able to take so-called APOs at face value. WAMU 88.5 investigative reporter Patrick Madden, along with journalist Christina Davidson, teamed with the Center For Investigative Reporting's Reveal program and American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop to document and analyze nearly 2,000 cases with charges of assaulting a police officer. The results raise concerns about the use or overuse of the charge. Some defense attorneys see troubling indicators in the numbers, alleging that the law is being used as a tactic to cover up police abuse and civil rights violations. The statute “goes too far and criminalizes too much,” one expert says. http://wamu.org/projects/assault-on-justice/
  • FreshPAC

    In late September 2015, WAMU 88.5 reporter Patrick Madden uncovered the existence of a local political action committee that was exploiting a loophole to raise unlimited funds to support the mayor. The PAC was founded by close allies of the mayor, including her campaign treasurer. Over the next three months, Madden's dogged reporting on the PAC would raise questions about pay-to-play, the PAC's ties to a billion dollar power company merger and ultimately cause organizers to disband the group after public outcry.
  • The Debt Trap

    This weeklong investigative series revealed how car-title lending businesses in Virginia are using loopholes in the law to exploit consumers and evade regulators. Since the series aired, the governor announced he wants to crack down on the industry and several lawmakers introduced bills to address loopholes outlined in the stories. http://wamu.org/the_debt_trap
  • 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.
  • Deals For Developers

    A WAMU investigation found the D.C. City Council awarded $1.7 billion in real estate subsidies to 133 groups in the past decade — and more than a third of the subsidies went to ten developers that donated the most campaign cash over that time. What’s more, less than five percent of the subsidies went to the city’s poorest areas with a fourth of the city’s population, and developers failed to deliver on pledged public benefits for at least half the projects examined.
  • Deals for Developers, Cash for Campaigns

    Construction cranes can be seen throughout Washington, D.C. Less visible are the symbiotic relationships between land developers and city officials awarding tax breaks and discounted land deals. Those government subsidies are meant to revive neighborhoods, and to create jobs and affordable housing. But in some cases, the benefits never materialized, or the subsidies simply weren’t needed. And what began as a targeted economic development tool now looks to some like government hand outs that could have paid for other city services. A WAMU investigation found the D.C. City Council awarded $1.7 billion in real estate subsidies to 133 groups in the past decade — and more than a third of the subsidies went to ten developers that donated the most campaign cash over that time. What’s more, less than five percent of the subsidies went to the city’s poorest areas with a fourth of the city’s population, and developers failed to deliver on pledged public benefits for at least half the projects examined.
  • "Inside the Collapse"

    Kerry Killinger, former CEO of Washington Mutual, refused to take blame for the bank's collapse. Instead, he cited the faltering housing market and "credit crisis." An investigation by The Seattle Times reveals Killinger and his employees used "reckless" and "predatory practices," like encouraging high-risk loans, to increase the bank's profits. The greed-fueled decisions eventually led to the bank's collapse.
  • WAMU: Inside The Collapse

    It's October 2008: major banks are failing, Congress is bailing them out with taxpayer dollars. The public deserves to know how we got into the mess. ABC News Nightline's "Inside the Collapse" was first to expose a top-down, company-wide reckless lending strategy that led to the biggest bank failure in U.S. history: Washington Mutual Bank. Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas got inside Washington Mutual's culture and uncovered what really went wrong using original reporting, an exclusive whistleblower interview, a video of a jubilant company party, exclusive internal company documents, former employee interviews and victim interviews. His piece, as well as a follow-up on World news with Charles Gibson and articles on ABCNews.com, caught the attention of law enforcement. Two days after the piece aired, federal prosecutors announced that because of "intense public interest" they were investigating the bank's activities with assistance from the FBI, FDIC, SEC and IRS. The story was widely reported in the national media in the following weeks.