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 "fundraising" ...

  • Doing the Math: Behind a $5 Million Inauguration

    For nearly a year, the Texas Tribune’s Shannon Najmabadi and Jay Root have been on the hunt for records detailing the state’s spending on Gov. Greg Abbott’s 2019 inauguration. From a source, they obtained a program and fundraising solicitation for the celebration. The documents revealed that dozens of influential corporations and individuals — AT&T Corporation; H-E-B grocery; a handful of political appointees — had donated thousands of dollars for front-row access during the festivities — and, perhaps, beyond.
  • 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.
  • Give and Take

    The Give and Take series is an exhaustive investigation into Vermont's nonprofit organizations. They employ nearly one in five of the state's workers, but get little scrutiny. We combined shoe-leather reporting and data journalism to uncover a series of surprising stories that looked at compensation, fundraising, gaming, lobbying and more.
  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

    In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work. A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.
  • The University of Louisville Foundation Bought An Empty Factory In Oklahoma—Because A Donor Asked

    Reporter Kate Howard revealed how the University of Louisville’s nonprofit fundraising arm bought an abandoned factory in Oklahoma at the behest of a major donor. The multi-layered $3.47 million-dollar transaction had no academic purpose, did not result in any revenue for the organization and appeared to be an ethical breach and tax code violation.
  • Tax evasion in Princeton's eating clubs

    This was an investigation into how Princeton's eating clubs raise millions of dollars to pay for lavish renovations of their social facilities, including taprooms, lounges and dining halls. The investigation found that the leadership of the 12 eating clubs had over time set up a handful of "educational" foundations to hand out tax breaks to their donors. These donations directly violated IRS guidelines. Had the donors given money directly to the clubs, they would have received no tax benefits.
  • Presidential Campaign Accountability Coverage

    The Wall Street Journal examined leading presidential candidates, their backgrounds and fundraising. A set of stories explored potential conflicts of interest between Hillary Clinton's work as secretary of state and donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and paid sponsors of Bill Clinton's speeches. The Journal also exposed Donald Trump's role as a pitchman for what some have called a pyramid scheme. Journal reporters also scrutinized Jeb Bush's donor network as well as the level of coordination between Mr. Bush's campaign and the "independent" super PAC supporting his presidential bid. And Journal reporters revealed Dr. Ben Carson's connections to a questionable nutritional supplements company.
  • Donation Deception

    This KXAN investigation uncovered millions of dollars donated to Texas veterans charities mostly going in the pockets of fund-raisers. They poured financial reports those solicitors are required to submit to the Texas Secretary of State. Their investigation found professional fund-raisers have collected $130,399,567 for veteran organizations since 2001, the records show. But those fund-raisers kept 84% of the money donated. Meaning, most of the money people donate never reaches veterans needing help. They also went undercover to find VFW posts and bars using a potentially illegal method of fundraising in the form of computer video games where people can pay to play and win money, which the Texas Attorney General has ruled are illegal.
  • UNC Academic Fraud

    The News & Observer's reporting revealed one of the worst academic fraud cases ever seen at an American university -- more than 200 lecture-style classes over a 14-year-period that never met, and largely benefited athletes at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It also revealed another athletic-related scandal: The mom of a basketball star had been hired to fund raise, and engaged in an affair with the vice chancellor for fundraising, with both then taking personal trips at university expense. The reporting forced the resignations of the chancellor, vice chancellor and his favorite fundraiser, as well as the academic chairman behind the bogus classes. It prompted numerous internal reforms related to the oversight and accountability of academic, athletic and fundraising matters. It also prompted at least five separate investigations, including criminal, which is still underway, and has put tremendous pressure on the NCAA to investigate.
  • Message Machine

    “Message Machine,” a news application, takes an innovative approach to decode how the presidential campaigns were shaping fundraising appeals and other communications to potential voters. Going into the election cycle, there were reports that the presidential campaigns were gearing up to use "data science" -- sophisticated quantitative analysis and statistics -- to "microtarget" messages as never before. They had little interest in explaining what they were doing, however, for obvious strategic reasons. When a couple we knew told us they'd received similar emails simultaneously from the Obama campaign, each asking for donations, but in language that differed in subtle, but important ways, we set out to reverse engineer how the campaign was altering its tone and content to specific audiences. ProPublica News Application Developer Jeff Larson created a system to automatically gather tens of thousands of campaign emails and analyze how they were targeted. He used the same sophisticated techniques, such as machine learning and natural language processing, used by the campaign. There were a huge number of stories done after the campaign about the “geniuses” at Obama For America, but ProPublica was virtually alone in providing real-time, deep analysis of the operation while the campaign was still happening.