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 "fines" ...

  • VPR: Watch Your Speed

    Law enforcement in Vermont issued more than 24,000 tickets worth upwards of $4 million in fines to drivers in 2017. A quarter were issued in three small towns. This investigation revealed how one county sheriff has profited from his traffic contracts with two of the towns. It also showed how issuing traffic tickets allowed another town to maintain an unusually low tax rate.
  • Reason Magazine: Chicago Impounds

    This investigation centered on Chicago’s aggressive vehicle impound program, how it intertwines with civil asset forfeiture and the city’s attempts to shrink its budget deficits, the low standards of evidence required to impound a car, and the impact of hefty impound fines on Chicago’s most vulnerable and marginalized residents.
  • Michigan State University: Capital expenditure

    This project analyzed 2017 campaign finance data reported by Michigan state lawmakers. The initial intent was to determine how much of those funds came from special interest Political Action Committees rather than individual contributions. It blossomed into 10 stories that looked at such things as the difference in fundraising patterns between men and women, Republicans and Democrats. It ranked the partisanship of the state’s PACs, the largest PAC donors, the lawmakers who received the most and least, those who used the most of their own money and those who used no money at all. It discovered that the NRA spends very little on individual state lawmakers and those who break campaign finance laws rarely get hefty fines.
  • Broken Homes, Broken System?

    It's a no-win situation. Families can stay in an unsafe home or call Code Enforcement for help and risk eviction and fines. We compared inspection reports from Code Enforcement with eviction records from Magistrate Court. We found a system breakdown that allows bad landlords to keep tenants in unsafe homes. The deeper we dug into city records, the more we uncovered. Our investigation lead to a change in city code. The city adopted stricter fines. Code Enforcement developed a follow-up system for complaints. Magistrate began looking at prior code violations before ruling on an eviction.
  • Affiliate Investigative Collaborations: Sky Rage and New Home Heartbreak

    This entry is to put forth the collaborations between the ABC News/Brian Ross Unit and the ABC local affiliate investigative teams with whom we report major consumer investigations. We believe this style of reporting on consumer issues together, combined with the way the reports are then presented around the country, is not only innovative, but service journalism in its most true form and at its finest.
  • Solitary: Way Down in the Hole

    This four-part series exposed, for the first time, Minnesota’s heavy use of solitary confinement. By building a database and through prisoner interviews, we found more than 1,600 examples of inmates spending six months or longer in isolation over the past 10 years, and 437 instances of prisoners serving one year or longer. We documented more than 24,000 cases of inmates spending longer than 15 days in solitary—the time frame the United Nations defines as human torture. The series also showed how inmates come to prison with pre-existing mental illnesses and end up in isolation only to deteriorate mentally. The final installment told of the difficult path for inmates once they leave isolation. In more than 700 cases in the past six years alone, offenders left prison directly from solitary confinement.
  • Hazardous Waste Regulation Challenges in California

    Despite a number of organizations overseeing the metal shredding industry, regulators have struggled to be effective in their efforts, possibly jeopardizing environmental and societal health. A deep dive into the Sims Recycling Plant in Silicon Valley uncovered decades of violations and millions of dollars of fines. And the failure to effectively police these plants are hurting local residents: in late 2013, the San Francisco Peninsula was engulfed in noxious black smoke when fires broke out at the facility.
  • Missing Airport ID’s

    This investigation revealed hundreds of airport ID’s have been lost or stolen at some of the nation’s busiest airports. Some missing badges were not deactivated for days or weeks because employees or companies failed to notify airport police. Those badges allow workers to bypass security screening and access the most secure areas unchecked. As a result of our reports, a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators has introduced a bill that directs the TSA to increase fines for airports, airport workers and employers who fail to report badges lost or stolen right away. And it requires all large U.S. airports to notify Congress if more than 3% of an airport’s ID’s are missing. Our reporting also prompted the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to launch an ongoing review of lost and stolen ID’s. Our team produced and reported the story for NBC Nightly News and the TODAY Show, bringing our findings to a national audience.
  • Preying on Prisoners

    In “Preying on Prisoners,” The Marshall Project exposed how Texas, the state with the most instances of prison sex abuse, fails to penalize prison staffers who sexually abuse inmates. In a six-month investigation, Alysia Santo found that since 2000, the state prison system referred only 400 cases of suspected sexual assault by prison employees for prosecution, of which prosecutors refused to pursue almost half. Ultimately, 126 prison workers were convicted, but just nine were sentenced to jail time, and the rest were subject to fines and a few years probation, with the promise of a clean criminal record if the court’s conditions were met.
  • Municipal Court Abuses

    Many municipal courts in St. Louis County, particularly in struggling areas, have become major sources of revenue for their cities. As these towns came to rely more on traffic fines and court fees to fund their operations, people on the bottom income rungs found themselves buried in debt to the courts and facing arrest when they didn't show up for hearings because they couldn't pay. At the same time, the courts corrupted the points system designed to keep bad drivers off the road by turning moving violations into "illegal parking in a park" -- for a fee.