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 "federal regulators" ...

  • WSJ: Big Tech's Hidden Costs

    Congress and federal regulators do very little to police Amazon, Facebook and other big technology platforms that dominate the global economy and modern life. The companies say it's not their responsibility to protect consumers from online hazards, due to carve-outs in federal law for digital platforms. The Wall Street Journal investigated the many ways tech companies are passing on that responsibility—and the potential risks—to unwitting consumers. The Journal's reporting stopped Facebook from collecting sensitive personal data including users' menstrual cycles and heart rates; alerted parents to the lack of vetting for prospective nannies with police records including child abuse, sexual assault and murder; and forced Amazon to remove thousands of federally banned and unsafe products including toys with dangerous levels of lead.
  • NPR/PBS Frontline/Ohio Valley ReSource: Coal's Deadly Dust

    Coal's Deadly Dust asked a fundamental question about an unprecedented epidemic of the advanced stage of black lung disease (Progressive Massive Fibrosis or PMF), among coal miners. How and why did this happen? How could it happen given a regulatory system designed to protect miners from the toxic dust that causes disease? The investigation documented the failure of federal regulators and the mining industry to protect coal miners from the epidemic of disease, despite clear evidence in federal data, clear evidence in mining practices, decades of recommendations to take action, and awareness of the danger.
  • CALmatters: California’s for-profit college watchdog fails to police as feds back down

    The California agency responsible for overseeing the state’s 1,000-plus for-profit colleges and vocational schools has repeatedly failed or been slow to enforce laws meant to prevent fraud and abuse, leaving a serious gap in accountability as federal regulators back away from the job.
  • Bled Dry

    When local hospitals shut their doors, communities usually blame poor economics or heavy regulation. But The Dallas Morning News found another reason for closures: Businessmen who bought ailing hospitals and siphoned off their cash, often leaving them vacant hulks in devastated towns. What may seem at first to be an unlikely scenario has played out not just in Texas, but across the country. One owner left a trail of 13 wrecked hospitals in seven states. In Nevada, a doctor who put down $10,000 to take over the only hospital between Reno and Las Vegas pulled out at least $8 million before the cash-starved medical center shut down. Federal regulators and most states don’t vet people who take over hospitals, The News discovered, and there is little financial oversight. Even when patient care suffers at these stripped facilities, regulators seldom hold those who profited accountable.
  • Toxic Safety

    A child’s car seat is the only consumer product that is required by law in all 50 states and it is crucial to keep a child safe in the car. However, this investigation revealed false advertising, legal loopholes and outdated federal regulations are exposing millions of children to concerning, even known-cancer-causing chemicals, in their car seats with no apparent safety benefit. Over the course of a year, KPIX lit car seats on fire, commissioned lab tests on car seats and the kids who use them, searched public records, mined social media, analyzed national car fire data and interviewed experts from every applicable industry. The resulting series sparked action by lawmakers, industry groups, consumer advocates, federal regulators and car seat
  • Private Risk

    In a year-long series, The Wall Street Journal exposed and analyzed the underbelly of Silicon Valley’s technology boom with powerful reporting that triggered action by federal regulators, the nation’s largest drugstore chain and major retailers. Among the many highlights was an expose of blood-testing firm Theranos Inc., detailing how the nation’s largest private health-care company hit technological snags—with employees filing complaints with regulatory agencies alleging the company concealed problems—as it performed millions of blood tests on patients. The articles selected here—from dozens of stories, infographics and videos in the Journal’s “Private Risk” series—also revealed how technology firms fudge their finances; how private tech shares are improperly traded in a shadowy market; and how millions of American own shares of private tech firms through their mutual funds with no idea about what they’re actually worth.
  • A Game of Chicken

    Over the course of a decade, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had not one, not two, not three, but four opportunities to warn the public about salmonella outbreaks involving Foster Farms chicken. Each time, they hemmed and hawed, worrying more about the threat of legal action from a corporate giant than about protecting consumers. Health reporter Lynne Terry was the first journalist in America to identify and write about this alarming trend. With reporters from Frontline, The Center for Investigative Reporting and the New York Times circling around the story, she beat them all with a stunning and illuminating examination of the failures of the USDA. In her year-long investigation, Terry set out to determine if the USDA’s notoriously slow handling of a major salmonella outbreak in 2013-2014 was an isolated case. It wasn’t. She reviewed thousands of pages of previously undisclosed documents dating back to 2003. What she found was disturbing: More than 1,000 people had rushed to their doctors with bouts of food poisoning. They had no idea what made them sick. But federal regulators did. Those same federal officials took virtually no steps to protect consumers from bad chicken. Health officials in Oregon and Washington had pushed vigorously for federal action, having identified clear and convincing evidence of problems. But the USDA wouldn’t budge. Terry’s meticulous reporting identified these themes: •USDA officials are afraid of lawsuits. The agency is so worried about being sued by companies that they’ve set an almost impossible bar for evidence, even rejecting samples of tainted chicken that state health agencies believed would help clinch their case. •Government inspectors are pressured to go easy on food processors. In one notable case, the USDA transferred an inspector after Foster Farms complained he wrote too many citations. •The USDA succumbed to further pressure from Foster Farms. After strong pushback from the company’s lawyers, the agency backed away from citing an unequivocal connection linking the company to a 2004 outbreak – even though the evidence pointed only to Foster Farms.
  • USAT: Unfit for Flight

    "Unfit for Flight" reveals the hidden dangers of private aviation by exposing how manufacturers let defective parts and designs remain in place for decades, federal investigators fail to find defects because they do cursory crash investigations, and federal regulators let manufacturers build brand-new aircraft under safety standards that are decades old. The series exposes manufacturer negligence that has led companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements, many of them confidential and reported for the first time.
  • Moms: Hospital Killed Our Kids

    The outside of the Kentucky Children's Hospital is all colorful paintings and smiling photos, but inside there's a dark secret. Connor Wilson was the first to die, on August 30, at six months old. His parents, while heartbroken, didn't think anything was amiss until another baby in the same ward, Rayshawn Lewis-Smith, died. Then they found out Waylon Rainey, also on the cardiac surgery floor, coded and was on life support and a fourth baby, Jaxon Russell needed a second surgery at another hospital to fix a heart surgery he'd had a Kentucky Children's. All of these events happened within eight weeks, after which the hospital closed its cardiac surgery program and placed its chief surgeon on leave. When the parents asked the hospital questions, the hospital wouldn't answer them. When a local reporter started asking questions, the hospital sued her. When the state Attorney General asked these same basic questions - how many pediatric heart surgeries they did, their mortality rates - the hospital refused to hand over the data. When the AG ruled they were in violation of state law by not releasing their data, the hospital appealed the ruling. Now the hospital says they plan to re-open their pediatric cardiac surgery program, and these parents are up in arms. How could the hospital possibly open back up with this kind of track record, without even releasing the most basic safety data, which many other hospitals release all the time? And why haven't state or federal regulators rushed in to stop the program from re-opening - they haven't even opened an investigation. Elizabeth Cohen investigates.
  • In Harm's Way

    "In Harm's Way" uncovers a pattern of poor government regulation and dangerous safety problems in the booming interstate bus industry, which now carries as many passengers from city to city as domestic airlines--700 million passenger rides a year. In an investigation that took most of the year, the KNBC I-Team exposed how federal regulators routinely allow unsafe buses to remain on the roads, sometimes with fatal consequences. In 2013, California had a record number of major bus crashes--11 of them--with hundreds of injuries and over a dozen deaths.