Stories

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

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Search results for "campaign contributions" ...

  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • Cash & the Court

    A reporter's curiosity about campaign contributions to judicial candidates from six law firms — five from outside Arkansas — leads to a 17 month-long investigation and results in revelations that raise questions about the impartiality of the state's Supreme Court. http://www.arkansasonline.com/cashandthecourt/
  • Campaign Contributions and the California State Board of Equalization

    Taxpayers with complex tax dispute cases before the State Board of Equalization were more likely to win their cases if they or their representatives made campaign contributions to the elected board members, either directly or through political action committees.
  • 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.
  • Higher-Ed Hustle

    Miami Herald reporter Michael Vasquez took a deep look at the private for-profit college industry in Florida to determine why it has flourished while similar schools have struggled in other states. What he found: Florida politicians -- especially those in the state legislature -- have enabled the industry, passing more than a dozen laws that fueled its growth while hindering community colleges. In exchange, lawmakers have received hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions.
  • Logging and Landslides

    After a landslide killed 43 in the town of Oso, Washington, our KUOW investigation found that Washington state's department of natural resources had allowed clear-cutting on sensitive ground that, by law, should have been protected from logging to avoid triggering a slide above Oso. We also documented the agency head's broken vow not to take campaign contributions from the timber industry he regulates.
  • Public Money, Private Profits

    David Sirota's run of coverage in the International Business Times lays bare how hedge funds, private equity investors and other professional money managers have penetrated an enormous and lucrative frontier – the roughly $3 trillion worth of public pension systems run by cities and states. The deal-making that has delivered this state of affairs has been laced with conflicts of interest and ethics breaches. Sirota produced a blockbuster scoop showing how the head of New Jersey’s pension system, the former private equity executive Robert Grady, had been in direct contact with top political staff working for the reelection of Gov. Chris Christie just as major campaign contributions were pouring into Christie’s coffers from financial services companies with contracts to manage state pension funds – an apparent violation of state and federal pay-to-play laws.
  • 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, Cash for Campaigns

    D.C. routinely awards real estate subsidies to encourage development but there has been little scrutiny of them and plenty of questions. For instance, how much have the subsidies cost taxpayers over time and are they really needed when the city has one of the country’s hottest real estate markets? The reporters examined thousands of pages of city documents on 110 developments receiving city subsidies in the past decade and nearly 100,000 campaign contributions for council, mayoral and other local races over that time. The investigation found the city awarded $1.7 billion in subsidies in the past decade — and more than a third went to ten developers that donated the most campaign cash over that time. A dozen developers spent the most campaign cash the year their subsidy was approved and there were 10 dates in which three or more companies developing a project together donated to a single candidate on the same day. 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.