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.

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  • The Henry Pratt Mass Shooting

    On the afternoon of Feb. 15, disgruntled warehouse employee Gary Martin opened fire during a termination hearing at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Ill., killing five people and wounding several police officers before being fatally shot by law enforcement. Before police publicly identified Martin, the Tribune learned his name from sources and began investigating his background. One thing quickly became clear: Martin, a convicted felon who had served prison time for attempting to kill his girlfriend, never should have been allowed to purchase the gun used in the shooting. This discovery – aided by carefully worded Freedom of Information Act requests, unparalleled sourcing and a review of extensive court records – prompted the Illinois State Police to disclose hundreds of pages of documents related to Martin’s firearms license and gun purchase within days of the shooting. It was an unprecedented release of information, in terms of both expediency and subject manner. Illinois law expressly prohibits the disclosure of records related to firearm owner’s identification cards or concealed carried permits, but Tribune reporters were able to convince law-enforcement officials that Martin’s firearms history should be exempt from such protections because he fraudulently obtained his license by lying on his permit application. Upon receiving this information, reporters submitted further FOIAs in an effort to understand the depths of the state’s problem. A reporting project that started within hours of a mass shooting grew into an investigation that found 34,000 Illinois had their gun permits revoked – and that the state has no idea what happen to their guns. That meant 78 percent of people stripped of their gun licenses failed to account for their weapons. The responsive records – some of which required difficult fights and keen sourcing to obtain - exposed serious flaws in the national databases relied upon to conduct criminal background checks, as well as the state’s failure to ensure that people surrender their weapons after their Firearm Owner's Identification cards are revoked. In an analysis of data released for the first time, the Tribune found as many as 30,000 guns may still be in possession of people deemed too dangerous to own firearms. The Tribune also was able to create an online-lookup that allowed readers to look up how many people in their town had their gun permits stripped, the reason for the revocation and how many times that person had made a serious inquiry about purchasing a gun.
  • The Fight for Legislative Records

    The group of stories submitted start with the anti-transparency actions that Washington state lawmakers took after an AP-led coalition prevailed in superior court in January 2018, when a judge ruled that state lawmakers are subject to the same public disclosure law that other elected officials are. The final story and glance are on the state Supreme Court in December 2019 upholding that lower court ruling. The state high court ruling is the end of a nearly three- year effort by Rachel La Corte at The Associated Press to successfully challenge lawmakers’ assertion that they had a special exemption from the state’s Public Records Act.
  • 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.
  • ProPublica: Trump Town

    Trump Town is a searchable database of 2,816 current and former Trump administration political appointees, including their jobs and offices, employment history, lobbying records, government ethics documents, financial disclosures and, in some cases, resumes. We made the data available and easy to use so journalists and researchers can use it in their own work. Prior to this news application, much of this data was either not accessible to the public or not searchable.
  • CNN Investigates - Uber Sexual Assault

    CNN Investigates’ multi-part, five month-long reporting project focused on allegations of sexual assaults by drivers of the rideshare giant Uber. Uber pitches itself in advertising as a “safe ride home,” but CNN’s reporting found that in case after case across the country, Uber drivers prey on female passengers, and Uber’s background check process allowed thousands of convicted criminals to become drivers. CNN’s investigation led to safety changes in the Uber app, a change in the background check policy, and a change in Uber’s policy that forced sexual assault victims into arbitration and compelled them to sign non-disclosure agreements.
  • Oil Empire

    As Texas' oil production has boomed and the Craddick family's oil wealth has increased, so has their political clout. When Christi Craddick assumed elected office as that industry's top regulator in 2013, it ensured the Craddick name would be one of the most powerful and widely-renowned in the state's history. KXAN discovered, since the start of 2014, Craddick voted at least 320 times on agenda items brought by companies that pay her and her family royalties or dividends, according to her personal financial disclosures. We also found she cast more than 100 votes on enforcement actions against those companies.
  • Bird-dogging the Buffalo Billion

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched the "Buffalo Billion" program in 2012 with the intention of revitalizing the Western New York economy. Investigative Post's reporting documented the extraordinary lengths to which Cuomo administration has gone to withhold disclosure of how the $1 billion is being spent. Our reporting also revealed that lucrative development contracts were awarded to major donors to Cuomo's campaign committee and that SolarCity, the major beneficiary of the state's spending, is losing vast amounts of money and under federal investigation. Subsequent reporting detailed that minority hiring goals for the SolarCity project, involving the construction of a $750 million solar panel manufacturing plant, were lowered and that African Americans made up less than 6 percent of the workforce.
  • Sprawl Developer Won't Take No For an Answer

    This was a two-person investigation into political corruption, environmental damage, public danger and regulatory capture presented by a developer’s attempt to build a suburban sprawl project in rural San Diego County. We spent two months diving into lawsuits, environmental reports, wildfire warnings and campaign finance disclosures to understand how billion-dollar real estate developments take shape outside of public eye, even if they contradict adopted regulatory guidelines. It resulted in an elected official, poised to enrich himself by voting in favor of the project, being forced to recuse himself from voting, which led to the project’s indefinite suspension.
  • Incredible Cops

    This three-part series -- part of WNYC's ongoing NYPD Bruised project -- examined how often NYPD officers lie, what the department does about it and the overall impact on the criminal justice system. WNYC identified more than 120 officers with a documented credibility issue in the past decade. Many stayed on the street where they continued to make arrests. Their word -- in sworn statements -- put people in prison. Defendants often never learn if the officer accusing them of a crime has a history of lying despite a constitutional right to such information. WNYC also found the NYPD and prosecutors have failed to make simple fixes to address the problem. As part of the series, WNYC produced a first-of-its-kind map and chart showing the laws and court precedents governing disclosure of police disciplinary records in all 50 states. http://www.wnyc.org/story/police-misconduct-records/
  • CBS 5 Investigates: Lobbyist Gifts to Lawmakers

    CBS 5 Investigates uncovered thousands of dollars in gifts Arizona state lawmakers were accepting, but failing to report. During their investigation, they traced these gifts through a set of complex state databases that contained lobbyist disclosures, but did not directly connect them to the lawmakers they were financially benefitting. The computer-assisted portion of their investigation took more than 150 hours of analysis. Their finished product included two news stories that appeared during regular newscasts, and a 20-minute special report that aired as part of our 10pm news. In addition, They created a searchable database, that allowed their viewers to find out how much their lawmakers had accepted from lobbyists.