Stories

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

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Search results for "dark money" ...

  • The TurboTax Trap

    Why Americans, unlike citizens of other developed countries, pay billions of dollars every year to perform the most basic civic act: file taxes. We revealed that Intuit, whose TurboTax business has helped the company become a $69 billion Silicon Valley colossus, has used lobbying, the revolving door and “dark pattern” customer tricks to keep tax filing difficult and fend off an IRS program to help most Americans file for free.
  • Plunder and Patronage in the Heart of Central Asia

    “Plunder and Patronage in the Heart of Central Asia” exposes a massive outflow of dark money from Kyrgyzstan, one of the world’s poorest nations. Reporters revealed how, over the span of five years, more than $700 million were funnelled out of the country — and across the world — by a single man: a self-confessed money launderer named Aierken Saimaiti. Saimaiti was murdered during the course of the reporting. But before his death, he provided reporters with a trove of documents that enabled them to piece together where this money came from, how it was moved abroad, and where much of it ended up.
  • Center for Responsive Politics: Tracking Trump’s ‘Dark Money’ Networks

    CRP’s series of investigations using data from FCC political ad records, tax documents and other resources to piece together a network of nonprofits supporting President Donald Trump’s agenda revealed that the Trump campaign funneled money to ad buyers alleged to have facilitated an illegal coordination scheme routing funds through a previously unreported shell company. Our research also identified exclusive financial information about groups and individuals tied to a mysterious LLC that made a $1 million donation to the inaugural committee.
  • Dark Money: London's dirty secret

    ''Dark Money: London's Dirty Secret'' pierced a world that is normally hidden from all but those who enjoy great wealth or great power: the world of financial secrecy. At a moment when public debate is dominated by inequality and tax evasion, the Financial Times turned a glaring spotlight on the City of London and explained its role in a global system of illicit finance that serves the kleptocrats, criminals and the super-rich. One of the most-read stories of the year on FT.com, Dark Money was a riveting narrative that exposed a system designed to look impenetrable to outsiders. The City’s secrecy specialists spin webs of front companies, offshore accounts and dummy directors that allow tainted wealth to flow around the globe incognito. This system takes dirty money and makes it look clean. It creates a secret world whose existence is corrosive to the rest of society – a piggy bank for untouchable power.
  • Potential Senate candidate tied to dark money groups

    Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer's connections to two secretive political nonprofit groups runs much deeper than the would-be Senate candidate let-on in July 2013. While Schweitzer was at the helm of the Democratic Governor's Association, that group funneled more than $300,000 to a Helena-based non-profit run by Schweitzer's appointee to head the state's Office of Political Practices. From there the money ended up in the bank account of a mysterious Washington, D.C.-based political non-profit. What that group spent the money on is still a mystery. Schweitzer, an outspoken critic of the influence of "dark money" on Montana politics, deflected questions about his involvement with the organizations. A top aide to Schweitzer's said a common post office box was the only connection between the former governor and the two groups. A Tribune investigation found that Schweitzer ties to the people and organizations involved in the mysterious organizations ran much deeper than a shared address.
  • Shadow Money

    With our ongoing investigation of "dark money" in politics, OpenSecrets Blog (run by the Center for Responsive Politics) has repeatedly broken new ground in revealing the cash pipeline of some of the groups that have been most active trying to influence elections and national policy. These groups -- tax-exempt nonprofits that don't have to reveal their funding sources -- spent more than $300 million in the 2012 elections, mostly on TV ads, and have continued to spend to set the stage for the next election cycle. No other news organization has done more to shine light on these secretive groups that use confusion and ambiguity in both tax law and election law to spend big money in elections around the country.
  • What the Federal Communications Commission’s political ad files tell us about the influence of money on politics — and what’s left out of those files

    The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court has led to a proliferation of political groups, thinly disguised as non-profits, that don’t surface on many radar screens. They don’t have to file their contributions or most of their spending the the Federal Election Commission and any accounting they deliver to the IRS comes years after the election they worked to influence. To help uncover the political agendas behind this dark money, the Sunlight Foundation created Political Ad Sleuth, a tool that helps surface information from the one place that these groups still must leave a paper trail — the TV stations where they buy their ads.
  • Free The Files

    To learn more about how dark money groups spent the money they were secretly raising, ProPublica launched the “Free the Files” project. First, we enlisted volunteers to gather files from local TV stations detailing political ad buys and share them with us to release online. These records, previously available only on paper to people who visited the stations in person, provided details about spending often not included in the groups’ reports to election authorities. The FCC later ordered some stations to put ad buy data online, but the jumble of documents posted could not be digitally searched. To make the information useful, ProPublica created a news application that showed volunteers how to sort the records by market, amount and -- most critically -- by candidate or group. More than 1,000 people helped us create a database that logged up to $1 billion in ads. Tapping this data, ProPublica reporters were able to show how massive infusions of dark money influenced races in Ohio and New Mexico.
  • Campaign 2012 - Revealing Dark Money and Big Data

    The 2012 elections were marked by two major new developments. Anonymous money poured into races on an unprecedented scale. And campaigns used troves of data that people previously considered confidential to “micro-target” voters. Our goal was to shine a light on these tactics, using old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting, public records and innovative computer applications. Throughout the year, our series, “Campaign 2012: Revealing Dark Money and Big Data,” showed readers how groups and campaigns exploited everything from loopholes in federal regulations to Internet surfing habits to win votes.
  • Big Money 2012

    Big Money 2012 is an unprecedented multi-platform project to investigate campaign finance in the post-Citizens United era. Spanning television documentary, radio and online news outlets, this initiative draws on the award-winning talents of some of the best in the industry to dig deep into a story that goes to the foundations of our democracy. FRONTLINE’s pre-election TV broadcast of Big Sky, Big Money in partnership with American Public Media’s Marketplace formed the center of this multiplatform investigation, Big Money 2012, which continued on the radio and on the web. Further coverage of this timely story also continued online as part of ProPublica’s Dark Money series featuring reporting by ProPublica investigative reporter Kim Barker with Rick Young and Emma Schwartz reporting for FRONTLINE. Big Money 2012 tells a tale of money, politics, and intrigue in the remote epicenter of campaign finance, Montana. The investigation led the teams from big sky country—to a meth house in Colorado and to a UPS store in D.C. as they followed a trail of documents. What they find exposes the inner-workings of a dark money group. In all, it’s a unique collaboration a year in the making, which has led to robust journalism with real impact. And, the story is still unfolding.