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.

Search results for "elected officials" ...

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Visiting Judges Costs

    There are no limits on time off for elected officials, including county judges. When a judge is absent and has hearings scheduled, then a visiting judge is paid to fill-in. The money a visiting judge earns is paid out of tax dollars. One county judge has been absent over a month for three years.
  • Lawmakers & Private Emails

    Emails generated by the Colorado legislature are subject to open records, however 9NEWS exposed how each lawmaker uses a private email account to conduct state business. This two-part report exposes why private email accounts make transparency in government even more difficult for the public through a public records test. The system is designed to treat elected officials differently than other state employees. https://vimeo.com/151932804
  • Perimeter breaches at US airports

    People get onto tarmacs and even planes at major airports far more often than the general public or elected officials realize; more than 250 times in recent years. Until AP’s story, the breaches had been largely secret. The public had no idea that, for example, one mentally ill man had hopped the fence at LAX eight times, twice reaching stairs that led to jets. Associated Press reporters painstakingly filed public records requests and legal actions to produce the most comprehensive public accounting of perimeter security breaches at top U.S. airports. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2YeqYfYB0s
  • The secret world of government debt collection

    CNNMoney’s report, The Secret World of Government Debt Collection, exposes an industry rife with political corruption, aggressive tactics and legal loopholes. In this world, forgotten tolls can snowball into hundreds of dollars in debt and unpaid speeding tickets can land people in jail. We found that thanks to legal exemptions, collectors working for government agencies typically don’t have to follow the main federal law that regulates the debt collection industry, and state consumer protection laws often don’t apply either. All of this opens the door for steep fees that other debt collectors couldn’t dream of charging, and allows them to threaten consequences as dire as arrest. The report focused on one of the industry’s biggest players, Texas-based law firm Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. Through our reporting, we uncovered this little-known firm’s massive influence and controversial political ties. For example, Linebarger spends more on state lobbying than Texas giants Exxon and Halliburton, and it pours millions of dollars into political campaigns. It even has current elected officials on its payroll and has become entangled in multiple bribery scandals. CNNMoney discovered it is also currently linked to an ongoing FBI investigation. But Linebarger continues to rake in lucrative government contracts, making its top executives and founders rich while the debtors it goes after are left scrambling to pay its steep fees. And because firms like Linebarger are powered by government agencies, consumers are left with little recourse.
  • Exposing the Unknown Dangers to Children: CA's Broken Day Care Oversight System

    In an ongoing year-long joint investigation, NBC Bay Area and The Center for Investigative Reporting peeled back the layers of California’s ineffective and antiquated day care oversight system, revealing parents’ little access to simple inspection information, infrequent checkups by state regulators and disorganization at the highest levels of state government. In a groundbreaking team effort, the journalists spent hundreds of hours scanning and organizing thousands of child care inspection documents, creating databases to analyze that information and then posting them online for the first time in California. The reporting brought transparency to an opaque and confusing system and put the problems into the public’s eye, leading to significant action by elected officials and a change in state law.
  • Inside Energy: Dark Side Of The Boom: Workplace Fatalities In Oil And Gas

    It’s no great surprise that the oil and gas industry is dangerous—but just how dangerous? And how bad does it have to get before regulators and elected officials step in and do something? Those questions were the jumping-off point for this four-part radio series (and multi-part web series) about oil and gas worker deaths. Using original data analysis, we compared the oil and gas industry in different states and with other dangerous industries. We then examined ways to make a dangerous industry safer.