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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  • Opportunity Zones

    Trump’s only significant legislative achievement was his 2017 tax code overhaul. It contained a provision to help the poor, called “opportunity zones.” In 2019, ProPublica showed that while the benefits to the poor have not yet materialized, some people have already reaped the rewards: the wealthy and politically connected. We found that wealthy developers lobbied government officials and got their long-planned investments in luxury projects included in the program, despite its avowed goal of attracting new investment into poor areas. Critically, two of our stories feature areas that never should have been qualified for the program in the first place, but were allowed in by a deeply flawed implementation of the law by the U.S. Treasury Department. They were then selected by state governors after lobbying efforts by wealthy developers. Our articles, along with those of other outlets, led to Congressional calls for investigations into the designation process, as well as proposed reforms to make the program more transparent and to eliminate potential abuses by investors.
  • 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.
  • BuzzFeed News: The Edge

    Figure skating, one of the most popular sports at the Winter Olympics, has a problem: Scoring is often slanted in favor of the judges' home countries. In this exclusive analysis, BuzzFeed News showed that one third of the officials selected to judge the 2018 Winter Olympics had, in recent seasons, demonstrated a home-country preference so strikingly consistent that the odds of it occurring by random chance were less than 1 in 100,000.
  • WSAW: Absentee Sheriff

    Though the current sheriff was not running to keep his office, the 2018 sheriff's race in Wood County, Wisconsin brought something to the surface that had been a rumor in the county for years. Two candidates claimed the sheriff was rarely in the county, or even the state. WSAW-TV's investigative reporter fact checked the claims, allowing voters to make more informed decisions about who their next sheriff would be.
  • Title: The Desert Sun: An Empire in the Desert

    These stories reveal the stunning influence that a single farmer in California's Imperial Valley, Mike Abatti, has exerted over the region's Colorado River water and energy industry. Abatti has benefited from decisions made by his friends in elected office, a judge with ties to his family, and a district attorney whose second-in-command is his sister-in-law.
  • The Texas Observer with The Investigative Fund: The Surge

    If Texas’s border counties have some of the lowest crime rates in the nation, why are they so heavily policed? As Melissa del Bosque shows, the State of Texas has gone all in on border security spending, devoting $2.6 billion to special-ops teams, armored gunboats, high-tech spy planes, and a surge of law enforcement personnel in the past several years — on top of a multibillion-dollar federal border security operation. For her piece for The Texas Observer, in partnership with The Investigative Fund, del Bosque interviewed residents and elected officials in these border counties, now among the most profiled and surveilled communities in America, who described how this two-fisted border security buildup has taken a toll on their civil liberties. In a separate analysis, Del Bosque joins with reporter G.W. Schulz to uncover how Texas's $15 million high-altitude spy planes have surveilled one border town at least 357 times and may have traveled multiple times into Mexican territory.
  • NewsChannel 5 Investigates: The Investigators

    This yearlong investigation – which produced more than 30 individual stories -- exposed a culture of arrogance inside the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, questioning whether Tennessee’s top law enforcement agency acted as if it were above the law, exposing deficiencies in how the state’s top cop is selected, and revealing serious issues about who investigates the investigators.
  • KyCIR: A Louisville Family Reported Sexual Abuse By A Coach. He Worked With Kids For 15 More Years

    When he was 17 years old, Eric Flynn confided to his parents that his coach, Drew Conliffe, had sexually abused him dozens of times over a period of at least two years. Conliffe and his father, a former elected county attorney, paid the family for years for their silence. He apparently escaped serious consequences, despite two police investigations, even though dozens of people and several Louisville institutions knew about the allegation. In the wake of our investigation, several more alleged victims came forward.
  • Judicial appointment loophole sparks debate over NY constitution

    This story reveals a longtime but little-known practice of governors using a law to create one of their biggest, six-figure patronage mills to appoint appoint judges to critical courts that the constitution says are to be be presided over by elected judges.
  • Daily Herald: Illinois tollway series

    The Illinois tollway, governed by a nonelected board of political appointees, is the only option to get around the Chicago region for millions of drivers who spend $1.3 billion annually to use the system. While hardworking customers paid tolls, tollway executives and board directors were quietly hiring political insiders for high-paying jobs, handing lucrative contracts to firms where their relatives worked, and weakening bylaws to water down the tollway board’s conflict-of-interest rules. As the Daily Herald exposed nepotism, patronage and excessive spending at the tollway, the agency’s leaders fought back. Tactics included denying FOIAs, concealing information and accusing the newspaper of harassment. The Daily Herald’s investigation caught the attention of other media, two governors and state lawmakers who ultimately fired the tollway board of directors in early 2019. Legislators credited the Herald’s investigative series with alerting the public about what Gov. J.B. Pritzker referred to “unethical behavior.”