Stories

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

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Search results for "federal funds" ...

  • PublicSource: Revelations of police technology problems spark FBI scrutiny, alleged retaliation and unfinished work

    For the first time, PublicSource reported how Pittsburgh's reform-minded police chief touched off an FBI investigation into how city employee's handled software contracts. Included were projects that were never implemented by 2018, though they were fully paid for five years earlier using federal funds. The federal investigation ended without any charges, but internal investigations in the city were ongoing. A former officer also claims he faced retaliation for reporting concerns about tech projects, specifically from one of the city's highest ranking public safety officials. He is currently suing the city over several of the same concerns first publicly reported in our stories. Our stories led directly to internal changes in city purchasing and increased scrutiny of purchasing by City Council.
  • To Build a Home: The Navajo Housing Tragedy

    Arizona Republic staffers Craig Harris, Dennis Wagner and Michael Chow spent more than a year examining how one tribe - the Navajo Nation - could receive more than $1 billion in federal funds for homes, yet have a massive housing crisis amid a generation of wasteful spending, construction blunders and a stockpiling of funds.
  • The Real Death Valley

    Over the past five years, the remains of more than 400 migrants have been recovered in in rural Brooks County, Texas, some 70 miles north of the Mexico border. Yet no news organization had investigated why these deaths were occurring. Our investigation showed that stepped up border enforcement, interior border checkpoints, a lack of federal funds to support local law enforcement, inadequate emergency water supplies, and inadequate 911 emergency response by the U.S. Border Patrol contributed to this dramatic spike in deaths in what has become one of the deadliest migrant corridors in the American Southwest.
  • Investigation of a Community Health Center

    With an infusion of $11 billion, the 1,300 community health centers across the U.S. have been hailed as the backbone of the Affordable Care Act’s plan to leave no one without health care. That’s a lot of money to accomplish a lot of good. It’s also a lot of money to tempt those with larcenous intent. Two years ago, Alabama Media Group discovered that two community health centers -- Birmingham Health Care and Central Alabama Comprehensive Health -- had paid more than $2 million for contracts to companies owned by the centers’ CEO. Now there are indictments and allegations of $14 million in federal funds being diverted to private hands.
  • Just sign here: Federal workers max out at taxpayers' expense

    FMCS is a tiny independent federal agency whose director's first order of business was to use federal funds to buy artwork from his own wife, $200 coasters and champagne. The agency paid $85,000 to the phantom company of a just-retired official for no services; spent $50,000 at a jewelry store, supposedly on picture frames to give its 200 employees "tenure awards;" and leased its people $53,000 cars. Large portions of its employees routinely used government credit cards for clearly personal items after merely requesting to have them “unblocked” from restricted items, according to 50,000 pages of internal documents obtained by the Washington Examiner--raising questions about purchase card use in other agencies. Federal employees were charging cell phones for their whole families and cable TV at not just their homes, but their vacation homes too, to the government. Its IT director has had hundreds of thousands of dollars of high-end electronics delivered to his home in West Virginia, and there is no record of many of those items being tracked to federal offices. Many other items billed are highly suspect, such as $500 for single USB thumb drives that retail for $20. Virtually all of its spending circumvented federal procurement laws. When employees pointed out rulebreaking, Director George Cohen forced one accountant to write a letter to the GSA retracting her complaint, had another top employee walked out by armed guards, and fired another whistleblower, a disabled veteran, for missing a day of work while she laid in the ICU. At an agency the size of FMCS, where corruption went to the top, there were no higher levels to appeal to, no Inspector General, and--previously--no press attention.
  • Wisconsin's disabled jobless shortchanged

    Thousands of unemployed Wisconsinites with disabilities waited for months to receive services from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which is tasked with helping those with disabilities find employment. The wait list was expected to grow in length and number after the Legislature, for the third year in a row, did not request the full amount of federal funds available for the agency -- which could eliminate the waiting list altogether.
  • 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.
  • Wired for Waste

    A Charleston Gazette investigation found the state of West Virginia used $24 million in federal stimulus funds to buy oversized routers that weren't needed. The high-end routers were designed to serve research universities, corporations and major medical centers, but the state installed the pricey devices primarily in small schools and libraries. The routers cost $22,600 each. The newspaper discovered that a high-ranking state technology office administrator warned that the routers were "grossly oversized," but the state's homeland security director and commerce secretary ignored the warning and authorized the purchase.
  • Pasco County Housing Authority

    WSTP-TV discovered that Pasco Housing Authority was being severely mismanaged. The residents living in the housing projects were being ignored and abused because of incompetence and willful misuse of state and federal funds. They were also being retaliated against for bringing up problems at their homes to the board. Not only was the executive director having sex at the office with people who worked for her, but she was also padding her paramour's overtime sheets.
  • Transportation Center Stalled at South Carolina State University

    The series investigates where the $50 million in state and federal dollars went that had been given to build a new transportation center at South Carolina State University. With a vacant building site and no underway, school officials did not have an answer as to where the money went. The story prompted lawmakers to launch a formal investigation.