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 "conflict" ...

  • The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War

    Based on previously unavailable documents and interviews with more than 100 key characters, including General David Petraeus, The Insurgents unfolds against the backdrop of two wars waged against insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the main insurgency is the one led at home, by a new generation of officers—including Petraeus, John Nagl, David Kilcullen, and H.R. McMaster—who were seized with an idea on how to fight these kinds of “small wars,” and who adapted their enemies’ techniques to overhaul their own Army. Fred Kaplan explains where their idea came from, and how the men and women who latched onto this idea created a community (some would refer to themselves as a “cabal”) and maneuvered the idea through the highest echelons of power. This is a cautionary tale about how creative ideas can harden into dogma, how smart strategists—“the best and the brightest” of today—can win bureaucratic battles but still lose the wars. The Insurgents made the U.S. military more adaptive to the conflicts of the post-Cold War era, but their self-confidence led us deeper into wars we shouldn’t have fought and couldn’t help but lose.
  • Ohio Board of Education

    In a unique collaborative effort, the Akron Beacon Journal and The NewsOutlet student journalism lab researched and published an investigative series on the Ohio State Board of Education, a body responsible for oversight of the education of 1.8 million school-age children and spending of $9 billion in public money. One board member has resigned due to a conflict of interest exposed by the project, and newspapers are calling for the resignation of another. We discovered a third member is a recipient of public education dollars and may be using them illegally. That story is in progress. We continue to receive letters to the editor and are told that complaints may have been filed with the state inspector general or ethics commission, neither of which will comment. The project also exposed a massive gap between board ideology on school choice and public/research opinion, leading to a larger examination of school choice in Ohio in 2014.
  • The Congressman, the Safari King, and the Woman Who Tried to Look Like a Cat

    The specific focus of this series was the International Conservation Caucus Foundation and the lawmakers, polluting corporations, and environmental groups who benefit from it. The political genius of the foundation is that it has allowed ICCF member companies such as ExxonMobil to greenwash their reputations by funding ICCF member nonprofits, such as the Nature Conservancy. Meanwhile, corporate and nonprofit contributions to the foundation paid for "educational" lunches, dinners, galas and junkets, giving foundation members access to grateful members of Congress. These events -- and the foundation itself -- make a conscious effort to avoid discussing politically contentious topics like climate change, arguably the biggest conservation challenge of our time. The ICCF, which was founded by the former lobbyist of a Nigerian dictator who ordered the execution of nine nonviolent environmental protesters, is certainly notable in its own right. But what makes this series more important than a simple expose about a deeply conflicted foundation is that the ICCF is just one of many congressionally affiliated nonprofits that have popped up in part to skirt lobbying reforms instituted after the Jack Abramoff scandal. The most shocking thing about the ICCF and its ilk, according to government transparency advocates, is that most of what they are doing appears to be completely legal.
  • Rural Center investigation

    Reporting that revealed questionable grant making, overstated job creation claims, breaking of rules, political influence, conflicts of interest and a large built-up cash balance of taxpayers money at the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, the longtime leading agency for rural development in North Carolina. This reporting led to the creation of a new state agency to oversee and administer millions in rural grants in North Carolina; the transfer of about $100 million back to the state, including $27 million that had not been earmarked for any projects in rural areas. The reporting, along with a state audit that was subsequent to the reporting, also contributed to the abrupt resignation of the longtime president at the Rural Center and its chairman of the board. More than a half dozen board members recused from making decisions immediately after a story spotlighted conflicts and potential conflicts.
  • Conflicts of Interest at MD Anderson Cancer Center

    In a series of investigative stories that has been running for over two years, The Cancer Letter editor Paul Goldberg has been examining conflicts of interest at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the largest cancer hospital in the world. The Cancer Letter laid bare the controversy that would have ordinarily gone unnoticed, producing real-time coverage of that institution’s efforts to create a hybrid of an academic institution and a pharmaceutical company. The web-based weekly newsletter relied on thousands of pages of internal documents obtained under the Texas Public Information Act and a network of sources at MD Anderson and throughout academic oncology and regulatory agencies. The stories informed coverage by the Houston Chronicle, the journals Science and Nature, as well as other news outlets.
  • Habitat for Humanity Harsh Reality

    The News-Press investigative reporter Melanie Payne learned that Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties had foreclosed on more than 100 homes in the last decade - 10 percent of the total homes it had built for low-income families in Southwest Florida. This conflicted with Habitat's reports of a foreclosure rate of less than 2 percent. A look at the financials showed that many homes were priced at over $150,000 and some as much as $230,000, and were sold to people earning less than $20,000 a year. In addition, the CEO was paid at a rate comparable to Habitat CEOs in major metropolitan areas. She had a total compensation package of nearly $180,000 - about $50,000 more than counterparts in bigger communities. The complicated financing and the group's resistance to any mortgage modification was found to contribute to the high foreclosure. This challenged the notion of Habitat being of service to low-income residents who couldn't afford a home any other way.
  • Justice Obscured

    In its nine-month investigation, "Justice Obscured," the Center for Public Integrity evaluated the disclosure rules for judges in the highest state courts nationwide. The level of disclosure in the 50 states and the District of Columbia was poor, with 43 receiving failing grades, making it difficult for the public to identify potential conflicts of interest on the bench.
  • There Will Be Diatomaceous!

    In this series of coverage, Mission and State looks at Santa Barbara’s love-hate relationship with oil. As the country dives deeper and deeper into the enhanced-extraction oil boom, Santa Barbara grapples with what to do with the vast oil reserves waiting to be tapped in the North County and offshore. These stories delve into the fractured local oil politics, the strange bedfellows oil development can make of environmentalists, oil companies and politicians, the environmental and developmental legacies informing current debates, the missed opportunities for environmental concessions and the campaign contributions putting politicians in compromising positions. These stories paint the picture of a county in an almost schizophrenic political and cultural dance with itself. During the course of researching and reporting this series, it was revealed that Air Pollution Control District advisory board member and Lompoc City Councilmember Ashley Costa also worked in public relations for Santa Maria Energy, an obvious conflict of interest. Reporter Karen Pelland discovered that the president of a company proposing to slant drill from Vandenberg Air Force Base to get to the vast Tranquillon Ridge offshore reserve made significant political contributions to now-Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek). Garamendi had previously scuttled a deal between environmentalists and PXP oil company for the same reserve that was hailed as a landmark proposal at the time.
  • Going Postal – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's husband sells post offices to his friends, cheap

    CBRE Group. Inc. is a commercial real estate corporation which is chaired by Richard C. Blum, who is the husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. In 2011, the United States Postal Service (USPS) awarded CBRE an exclusive contract to sell off postal real estate in cities and towns across America. Based upon examining hundreds of public records, Going Postal reported that CBRE has sold more than $200 million worth of post office real estate at under fair market values, often to the firm's clients and business partners. CBRE's contract with the USPS requires the company to obtain fair market prices for properties that it brokers on behalf of the public and to avoid such conflicts of interest.
  • Failures in the Golden State

    The Department of Toxic Substances Control oversees or has some part in regulating everything from nail polish ingredients to oil refineries, radioactive waste to metal recycling in California. At the heart of our series is the story of a department that’s divided, dysfunctional, and ineffective in fulfilling its mission to protect public health and the environment of the Golden State. We sifted through hundreds of pages of reports, memos, reviews, manifests and legal claims. We also analyzed thousands of records in the department’s hazardous waste tracking system to find out that more than 40% of the hazardous waste manifests in the DTSC’s database contain inaccurate information or are missing key details. Our reporting has held leaders accountable at the DTSC and compelled state lawmakers to call for an investigation of the department, including a legislative hearing this month (January 2014). Through a series of public records requests, we found out some of the department’s top leaders were investing in companies the DTSC oversees. Our reporting into the potential financial conflicts of interest prompted an investigation into deputy director Odette Madriago by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). Ms. Madriago resigned from her position six weeks after our report aired. The FPPC investigation remains ongoing.