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 "campaigns" ...

  • Bogus Ballots

    Our investigation uncovered what one legal expert deemed “systematized voter deception” at play during the October 3, 2019 Memphis municipal elections. Within seventeen days, we brought to light a half-million dollar citywide disinformation campaign, in which more than a dozen campaigns, including the mayor’s, were involved in a pay-to-play scheme that put Republicans and Democrats alike on a widely distributed flyer posing as the local Democratic Party’s list of endorsements.
  • Unchecked Power

    After losing hard-fought reelection campaigns, Alabama’s sheriffs often turn their attention to undermining their successors in ways that abuse the public trust. On his way out the door, one sheriff drilled holes in government-issued cell phones, while another pocketed public money intended to feed inmates. The ousted leaders dumped jail food down the drain and burned through tens of thousands of sheriff's office dollars by purchasing thousands of rolls of toilet paper. These are among the findings of my six-month investigation into these practices for AL.com and the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. In June 2019, I chronicled the actions of nine defeated Alabama sheriffs, seven of whom allegedly destroyed public property, stole public funds and/or wasted taxpayer money after their electoral defeats. These stories were made possible by my realization that incoming sheriffs were often more willing to talk on the record about the bad behavior and criminality of predecessors who had taken advantage of them than they would be under other circumstances.
  • Zombie Campaigns

    Zombie Campaigns is an in-depth look at the spending habits of 102 former congresspeople who kept spending campaign donations as if they were still campaigning well after they left office. The reporting uncovered a wealth of personal spending and shone a light on loopholes that allowed some politicians to continue spending for decades after they retired, and in some cases even after they died. Along with the story, we published a searchable database of spending by those candidates we identified as running a zombie campaign.
  • WTSP-TV/Tampa Bay Times: Zombie Campaigns

    More than 100 former federal politicians kept spending their campaign money long after leaving office, a multiplatform collaboration between the Tampa Bay Times and WTSP-TV revealed. In some cases, the campaigns kept spending even though the politician was dead.
  • The Center for Public Integrity: How a Sanctioned Russian Bank Wooed Washington

    Foreign campaigns to influence American officials are supposed to be transparent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law requiring detailed disclosure of foreign influence efforts. But few believe FARA — passed in 1938 to combat Nazi propaganda — has been working well. It is riddled with exemptions. Enforcement is weak. Criminal penalties apply only to willful violations. Lobbying by VTB, a Kremlin-owned Russian bank under sanctions, is a case study in the flaws of FARA. The bank’s hired lobbyists failed to disclose a series of meetings with government officials on behalf of the sanctioned bank until months after U.S. law required them to, and one firm did so only after being contacted by the Center for Public Integrity. The bank sponsored an exclusive gala and invited American officials who oversee sanctions through intermediaries, avoiding disclosure requirements.
  • Tampa Bay Times/WTSP-TV: Zombie Campaigns

    More than 100 former federal politicians kept spending their campaign money long after leaving office, a multiplatform collaboration between the Tampa Bay Times and WTSP-TV revealed. In some cases, the campaigns kept spending even though the politician was dead.
  • Nation Institute (TomDispatch and The Intercept) coverage of the U.S. Military in Africa

    I wrote an untitled collection of articles for The Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com and First Look Media’s The Intercept investigating the U.S. military’s extensive and largely secret operations on the African continent. Utilizing documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act and from a whistle blower as well as a plethora of open source material, I offered a rare glimpse of the actions of a very secretive military command. Along the way, I revealed covert U.S. drone bases used for targeted killing campaigns from Yemen and Somalia to Iraq and Syria; I exposed unreported drug use and criminal behavior by U.S. forces across Africa; and shined a light on a multitude of missions in which elite U.S. forces trained alongside members of African armies regularly cited by the State Department for human rights abuses; among many other revelations. (While The Intercept may not fit the definition of a small outlet, I generally work alone and receive only spare support beyond editing. And TomDispatch is a truly tiny outlet.) https://theintercept.com/drone-papers/target-africa/ https://theintercept.com/2015/10/21/stealth-expansion-of-secret-us-drone-base-in-africa/ https://theintercept.com/2016/02/10/where-to-invade-next-is-the-most-subversive-movie-michael-moore-has-ever-made/
  • 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.
  • Broken System, Missing Money?

    KOB's investigative team exposed a serious blind spot in New Mexico's campaign finance system. The system is supposed to give voters honest and accurate information about who is bankrolling political campaigns in the state, but KOB found a $300,000 discrepancy in records tied to 11 elected leaders alone. The findings prove that it's nearly impossible to accurately follow the political money trail in New Mexico with confidence. Numerous legislators are now calling for reform and have drafted proposals and legislation as a result of KOB’s reporting.