Stories

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

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  • Not all of Hinchey's earmarks live up to billing

    One of the leading politicians in central New York is longtime US Rep. Maurice Hinchey. He has been unapologetic and prolific crafting earmarks that steer federal funds into his sprawling district. Many in the Hudson Valley can see the results: a pedestrian bridge that spans the Hudson River, renovations for an historic opera house and help to at-risk youth. There are dozens and dozens of others. By one estimate, two years ago the senior Democrat was among the nation's top 12 earmarking members of Congress. But a review found his earmarks have not always lived up to billing. Money for solar energy companies that did not create hundreds of promised jobs. A presidential helicopter that was supposed to be built largely in Owego, NY, is scrapped, and was decried by President Obama and US Sen. John McCain, among others, as an extremely wasteful. Also not fulfilling promises was a military contractor where dozens of jobs were predicted. While Hinchey had been identified in the past as prolific with earmarks, even the past two years finding ways to work around Congress’ ostensible ban on earmarks, no one had gone back through the public record to examine on a large scale whether key projects lived up to promises. The students obtained and examined federal databases on earmarks, read the public record on pronouncements at the time the earmarks were issued, and identified key projects that did not live up to billing.
  • Earmarks To Nowhere

    Just when you thought you had read every outrageous story about congressional pork, last year USA TODAY revealed $13 billion in "orphan earmarks"- highway spending directed to pet projects but never spent. For states, this uncooked pork came at a tremendous cost: almost $7.5 billion of the earmarked money was taken directly out of the state's direct highway funding- meaning states literally lost billions they could have spent to improve or build bridges and highways.
  • Earmarks to Nowhere

    USA Today revealed $13 million in "orphan earmarks" in highway spending director to pet projects but never spent. In reaction, Congress demanded an accounting of the earmarks from the Obama Administration, and members of both parties quickly introduced bills to clean up the practice and require public disclosure unspent funds.
  • "Stimulating Hypocrisy"

    This report investigates the 2010 "Pledge to America" campaign waged by Republicans. As many Republicans were labeling the stimulus plan as wasteful, a series of letters obtained by the Center for Public Integrity revealed that these were the "same lawmakers requesting stimulus funds for their pet projects."
  • Follow the Money: Congress & TARP Oversight

    This series of watchdog stories look at spending in Congress and use of TARP funds. They used FOIA requests to gain access to TARP contracts and called into questions some questionable charitable work, sweetheart deals, financial disclosures, fund-raising, earmarks and more.
  • Secret Deadly Earmarks

    Congressman Duke Cunningham was bribed with a yacht, antiques, and campaign contributions from a company owner seeking a government contract to fight roadside bombs in Iraq. Major Eric Egland was assigned to discover why troop deaths were increasing from roadside bombs despite the millions being paid, and in his search he came across "classified" information revealing the truth behind the contract.
  • Follow the Money

    This is an extensive series conducted to examine questionable earmarks on many levels. The story covers money trails from the Presidential election to wasted medical drugs that are (literally) being flushed down the toilet.
  • The Favor Factory

    The Seattle Times analyzed the 2008 defense bill and found that lawmakers - who had promised full disclosure of earmarks - were hiding $3.5 billion of them, about 40 percent of total earmarks. Some of the most prominent and powerful members of Congress used loopholes in a new reform measure to avoid disclosure.
  • An Offramp to Nowhere

    The Omaha developer Seldin Co. won $4 million in federal earmarks for an interstate interchange between Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, but was found to have lobbied for the interchange where Seldin owns 935 acres of land.
  • Inside the Hidden World of Earmarks

    Javers reports on how much cash is actually generated for companies because of lobbyists. It found that for every one dollar spent on earmark lobbying, $28 would be the average return rate. Even the US Navy used this to its advantage to by a new Gulfstream jet for the Naval officials.