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 "advocacy" ...

  • A Forgotten Crisis

    Melissa, Tara and Amanda interviewed dozens of military spouses, across every branch, all over the country. Then they cross-referenced their stories to identify the biggest problems and gaps in the system. Finally, they tracked down domestic violence experts, military leaders and others to add critical context and comment. It took over a year to report. The result was five articles that dug into the challenges faced by domestic violence victims in the military: a structure that favors the abuser in which commanders determine if a crime has been committed, a family advocacy program that, in some instances, upholds outdated beliefs about gender roles, and a lack of support for victims who face enormous financial consequences if they choose to leave their partners. HuffPost’s investigation found that service members are rarely investigated or punished for acts of domestic violence. Because of this lack of accountability, many victims we interviewed are still afraid of their former partners. Some have been unable to get protective orders because there is no official record of their partner’s abuse, as paperwork does not travel seamlessly from the military world to the civilian one.
  • The Intercept: Group that opposes sex work gave money to prosecutors’ offices – and got stings against johns in return

    This was an investigative piece that relied heavily on documents obtained through FOIA requests and revealed that prosecutors around the country were receiving millions of dollars in funding from an anti-prostitution advocacy group that required them in return to conduct raids on brothels and stings against sex work clients. In particular, internal documents showed that in exchange for nearly $200,000 in funding, the advocacy group essentially required the King County prosecutors’ office and their law enforcement to erroneously label criminal cases they were pursuing as sex trafficking even though there was no evidence of trafficking in these cases. At one point, the advocacy group was even allowed to edit a press release issued by the prosecutors about these cases to include terms like “sex trafficking.” Legal scholars said that the King County prosecutors may have violated their own professional codes of conduct that restricts them from making sensationalistic “extra-judicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.” My article was the first to show that the independent judgement of law enforcement in King County and other jurisdictions may have been compromised by the strings-attached funding from Demand Abolition, the anti-prostitution group.
  • A Cry for Help

    The trend was unmistakable. Minnesotans who were suicidal or otherwise having a mental health crisis were dying in confrontations with police. The Star Tribune decided to go beyond the anecdotes and develop the first comprehensive database of individuals killed after encounters with police in Minnesota. An exhaustive analysis of death certificate data, news accounts, police reports and other records revealed a powerful statistic: 45 percent of those who died in forceful encounters with police were in crisis or had a history of mental illness. The number was even more stark for 2015: nine of 13 killed fell into that category. The Star Tribune multimedia project “A Cry for Help” showed the collision of a broken mental health system with law enforcement, the responders of last resort. While questions of police conduct and use of force have revolved around race, one advocacy group estimated that mentally ill people are 16 times more likely to die in a police encounter than others. Our team faced the challenge of how to tell this story in a fresh and engaging way. They did it by obtaining extraordinary access to individuals: A cop who had killed two people, each of whom threatened him amid their mental breakdowns. The mother of a young mentally ill man killed by police who now advocates for better training. A man who tried to commit suicide by cop whose survival demonstrates how these situations don’t have to end in tragedy. These narratives were enhanced by hard-fought access to dozens of police case files that included powerful police video footage of a St. Paul standoff in 2015. The project also quantified, for the first time, the stories of every person who died in an encounter with police since 2000, and that database is now continually updated on the Star Tribune website.
  • Gun Wars: A News21 Investigation of Rights and Regulations in America

    An examination of the contentious political and cultural divide between those who say the right to own and carry guns is guaranteed by the Second Amendment and those who believe firearms should be more regulated. The project used or created nine databases to assess gun laws in every state in the nation and to document violence involving firearms across the United States. We also conducted hundreds of interviews across the country with longtime politicians, shooting victims, militia members, rural sheriffs, hunting enthusiasts, inner-city mothers and advocacy groups on all sides of the debate, to name a few.
  • Buying the Election

    “Never Mind the Super PACs: How Big Business Is Buying the Election” investigates previously unreported ways that businesses have taken advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which overturned a century of campaign finance law and allowed corporations to spend directly on behalf of candidates. The piece debunks a common misperception that businesses have taken advantage of their new political spending powers primarily through so-called Super PACs. In fact, most Super PAC donations have come from extremely wealthy individuals, not corporations. The investigation shows how corporations have instead used a variety of 501(c) nonprofits, primarily 501(c)(6) “trade associations,” to direct substantial corporate money on federal elections. As one prominent advisor to GOP candidates as well as corporations points out, "many corporations will not risk running ads on their own," for fear of the reputational damage, but the trade groups make these ad buys nearly anonymous. In 2010, 501(c)(6) trade associations and 501(c)(4) issue-advocacy groups outspent Super PACs $141 million to $65 million. The investigation shows that the growth of trade association political spending has had a number of significant ramifications, such as increased leverage during beltway lobbying campaigns. Most troublingly, legal loopholes allow foreign interests to use trade associations to directly influence American elections. One of the most significant revelations in the piece was that the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for the oil and gas industry, had funneled corporate cash to groups that had run hard-hitting campaign ads while being led in part by a lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government, Tofiq Al-Gabsani. As an API board member, Al-Gabsani was part of the team that directed these efforts, which helped defeat candidates who supported legislation that would move American energy policy away from its focus on fossil fuels. Federal law prevents Al-Gabsani, as a foreign national, from leading a political action committee, or PAC. But nothing in the law stopped him from leading a trade group that made campaign expenditures just as a PAC would.
  • The Lobbies at the Top

    The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics documents spending on lobbying statewide, as reported by the entities seeking influence and the lobbyists they hire. In 2011, companies, advocacy groups and unions spent $220 million on lobbying in the state, a record high. One in four of those dollars targeted New York City officials. This project examines the biggest-spending lobbying clients and the most active lobbying firms and shows what they sought to win — and who actually came out ahead.
  • The Champions

    The series examines the relationship between seven members of Congress and the industries or causes that they have taken up as champions, looking at how their advocacy not only helps their own political careers, in many cases, but frequently generates a personal financial benefit for the lawmaker or members of their family.
  • Weird Science: Women's Funding Network Sex Trafficking Study is Junk Science

    The story examines a series of purportedly scientific studies conducted on behalf of an advocacy group that raises money to fight juvenile prostitution. A close look at the study reveals a dubious methodology that violates most of the key tenets of sociological research.
  • "First, Do No Harm/Behind The Curtain"

    Two women have come forward to say they were sexual assaulted by a male ER nurse while in the care of North Kansas City Hospital. The women were heavily drugged while the assaults occurred. KCTV reporters found that sexual assault on hospital patients is not as rare a problem as most might think. However, when asked about the issue, local advocacy groups, state nursing boards and even the senior V.P. of the Joint Commission were unaware it even existed.
  • Protect Yourself Online

    Package of stories: "Protect Yourself Online", "7 Online Blunders", "ID Leaks", and "Security Software." These stories investigate the current state of Internet safety, including its impact on the public, as well as highlighting the newest threats and what is being done to fight them. The package of articles found that American consumers lose about $8.5 billion to e-mail scams, that such scams remain a serious threat, and analyzed recent ID breaches.