Stories

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

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Search results for "conflict" ...

  • Benghazi

    The Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead, shocked Americans, and the murky sequence of events that night almost instantly became politicized, spun and distorted in the heat of a bitter presidential campaign. Amidst the shock and debate, a team of Wall Street Journal reporters, working on the ground in Libya and in Washington, laid out in a series of exclusive, objective and careful reports on what actually occurred that day, and on the mistakes and missteps that contributed to the tragedy. The Journal’s reporting disclosed important facts of the attack—facts subsequently confirmed in the State Department’s official report—and gave readers information needed to cut through the fog and distortions of political debate. The stories came from hard reporting with deep sources and careful sifting of sometimes-conflicting accounts. It was public accountability journalism at its best.
  • The Great American Foreclosure Crisis

    The foreclosure crisis, which plunged America into the Great Recession and forced more than 4.3 million families out of their homes, is one of the most consequential events to hit America since the attacks of 9/11, but also one of the least understood. And no wonder. Citizens could read about isolated aspects: robo signing, say, or CDOs. But nowhere could they read, in a single narrative, an account of the whole — until last April, when ProPublica published The Great American Foreclosure Story by Paul Kiel, a groundbreaking look at the crisis told through one woman who lost her three-bedroom house in Florida and ended up living in a tent camp in Hawaii. Kiel followed up that stand-alone feature with a series of blistering reports on the government’s largest attempt to compensate homeowners harmed by big banks’ abusive foreclosure practices. Kiel exposed fundamental conflicts of interest in the program, the Independent Foreclosure Review, that called into question its integrity.
  • Capitol Assets

    For decades, a deeply flawed financial disclosure system on Capitol Hill enabled this nation’s lawmakers to conceal how their congressional work intersects with their personal financial interests. Until now. In an unprecedented examination of the finances of all 535 members of Congress, The Washington Post uncovered the connections and conflicts between the public and private lives of the nation’s lawmakers.
  • KSHB: Questionable Contracts

    A 41 Action News investigation scrutinized the bidding process for a $32 million energy project with Kansas City Public Schools. The investigation revealed that a businessman who acted an unpaid adviser early in the process eventually founded his own company and won the lucrative contract. The reporting lead to a resignation by a high-ranking district leader and a canceled contract. The ongoing investigation later examined other contracts and discovered a district facilities manager had helped award millions of dollars of work to a company with whom he had a personal relationship. That part of the investigation showed the district did not have a conflict of interest policy in place for district employees.
  • Platts: Oil and Gas Drillers Want ‘Confidential’ Wells

    It’s no secret that oil and natural gas production is booming in North Dakota. But there are indeed countless secrets — technical, strategic and otherwise — associated with many of the wells that are being drilled in the Roughrider State. North Dakota maintains something called a “Confidential Well List.” Under state law, certain information about the 1,800-plus wells on this list -- such as production levels, geographical data and engineering specifications – is kept from the public for six months. North Dakota regulators argue that there are legitimate reasons for keeping this data from the public, such as encouraging so-called “wildcat” drilling operations in remote or undeveloped areas where little or nothing is known about the subsurface geology. But other oil and gas-producing states are sharply curtaining their use of such policies, saying they are outdated and conflict with the principles of open government. Wyoming, for example, recently revised its policy on the grounds that granting confidential status without good reason was inhibiting “the timely dissemination of well information to the public.”
  • Platts: The Ugly Side of the U.S. Oil and Gas Boom

    There is a nasty and ugly side to the oil and natural gas boom that the U.S. has enjoyed in recent years — a side that involves allegations of fraud, breach of contract and taking advantage of poor or unsophisticated landowners, among other things. This story is significant because these incidents are seldom reported, as the landowners, energy companies and other stakeholders have little to gain and a lot to lose by talking to journalists. But I managed to pull back the curtain on these little-known conflicts by piecing together court files and by interviewing key players, including a woman who could have been sued for “commercial defamation” for talking to me. Through these hard-to-get interviews and court documents, my story paints a colorful and sometimes disturbing portrait of the growing number of conflicts between landowners and the oil and natural gas companies that drill on their lands.
  • Local officials are likely to profit from fracking in Southern Tier

    Local government officials have been lobbying the state to the controversial oil and gas extraction process known as fracking. But when they spoke at public hearings and pushed in other forums, were they just representing their communities, or did they have more at stake? In a four-month investigation, SUNY New Paltz students reviewed thousands of public records in two states. The investigation found more than 30 locally elected officials who have been outspoken proponents for fracking. Public records and additional examinations identified about 20 percent of those with more than political philosophy at stake — the chance to gain personally and financially. To open government advocates such as Common Cause, these instances raise concerns about transparency and conflicts of interest among locally elected officials. About six months after publication, and after further moves by local officials to press the state to approve fracking, the state attorney general has launched inquiries into whether local officials have violated conflicts of interest.
  • Benghazi: US Consulate Attack

    On September 11, when a militant group overran the US consulate in Benghazi resulting in the death of the ambassador, the initial information was contradictory. Much of it got mixed up with other reports out of the Middle East about anti-American demonstrations over an inflammatory film on the Internet that was said to insult Islam. Damon arrived quickly in Benghazi to sort out the conflicting information and went to the burnt consulate ruins, which, though looted, held valuable clues to the truth. Her reporting revealed that there was not a demonstration and that it appeared to have been a planned attack that unfolded simultaneously from three sides. She discovered that U.S. diplomats had been warned by Libyan officials three days before the attack that the security situation in the city was out of their control. Though her reporting received harsh public criticism from the State Department at the time, the U.S. government’s own investigation later proved her reporting to be accurate in an episode that continues to reverberate politically. Damon also spoke to Libyans that tried to save the ambassador that night, shedding light on what happened to him during his final hours. While she was in Benghazi, demonstrations erupted against the militia believed to be responsible for the attack, and Damon further reported on the rise in extremism in the newly-liberated country. Her reporting provided additional valuable context about the milieu in which the consulate attack occurred.
  • Campus Security

    ChicagoTalks reporters found only a handful of the 63 colleges and universities in Cook County are following an Illinois law -- the Campus Security Enhancement Act of 2008 (SB 2691) -- aimed to make campuses safe. Under the law, colleges and universities are required to create all-hazard emergency and violence prevention plans, along with threat assessment teams and violence prevention committees. The schools are also required to hold annual security trainings. ChicagoTalks reporters contacted, often repeatedly, every public and private, two and four-year college and university in Cook County, and determined that 11 schools appear to be violating the law, while 45 schools provided conflicting or incomplete information -- or no information at all. Reporters found just seven schools in compliance.
  • Sink or Swim: Mavericks High Schools claim to help trouble students, but questions persist about their quest for profits from taxpayer money

    The investigation reveals that the for-profit charter school Mavericks in Education Florida drive for profit conflicts with the company's mission of helping at-risk kids graduate from high school. Maverick's graduation rates are abysmal, former employees allege its attendance records and grades are falsified, and the schcools receive "incomplete" grades from the Florida Department of Education. Using taxpayer funds, the company is promising thousands of kinds an education that it does not deliver.