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.

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  • Opportunity Zones

    Trump’s only significant legislative achievement was his 2017 tax code overhaul. It contained a provision to help the poor, called “opportunity zones.” In 2019, ProPublica showed that while the benefits to the poor have not yet materialized, some people have already reaped the rewards: the wealthy and politically connected. We found that wealthy developers lobbied government officials and got their long-planned investments in luxury projects included in the program, despite its avowed goal of attracting new investment into poor areas. Critically, two of our stories feature areas that never should have been qualified for the program in the first place, but were allowed in by a deeply flawed implementation of the law by the U.S. Treasury Department. They were then selected by state governors after lobbying efforts by wealthy developers. Our articles, along with those of other outlets, led to Congressional calls for investigations into the designation process, as well as proposed reforms to make the program more transparent and to eliminate potential abuses by investors.
  • Unprotected: Broken promises in Georgia’s senior care industry

    The assisted living industry exploded in Georgia over the past decade as investors rushed to cash in on the graying of America. They built facilities with resort-like amenities and promised great care, for a price of thousands of dollars a month. But as this senior housing boom took hold, Georgia failed to provide adequate oversight, and the fancy chandeliers and expensive amenities hid the realities of an industry where for-profit owners are more focused on real estate deals than properly caring for vulnerable seniors.
  • WSJ: Cryptocurrency Decrypted

    Bitcoin surged in 2018, attracting billions of investor dollars before prices plummeted. The Journal used innovative data reporting and traditional human sourcing to investigate the crush of frauds, money launderers and unjustified optimism that developed in the boom and came undone in the bust.
  • OCCRP: Paradise Leased: The Theft of the Maldives

    Maldives tourism isn’t all swaying palm trees and white sand beaches. The truth is something far uglier. Thanks to a trove of leaked files, OCCRP reporters have uncovered the details of an audacious multi-million dollar scheme that saw dozens of Maldivian islands leased out to developers in no-bid deals — and the money then stolen. While local tycoons and international investors cashed in, the people of this island paradise in the Indian Ocean saw precious little. The revelations also include fresh evidence that implicates the Maldives’ authoritarian president, Abdulla Yameen, in the scandal.
  • Der Spiegel/EIC: Football Leaks

    This is a cross-border investigation into how the secret deals of club officials, leading associations, agents, investors and players have corrupted the most popular sport in the world. Recent work was undertaken by the network European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) and its partners, which has brought together 15 media and almost 80 journalists from 13 countries, publishing 350 stories in 11 languages across Europe.
  • 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 Making of Donald Trump

    An investigative biography of the successful candidate for President detailing his many criminal associations, cheating of workers, vendors and investors as well as other aspects of his life documented in the public record, but largely ignored in politics news reports. The author did the book for a modest advance (equal to a major magazine article) with no other support for the costs of travel, research, hiring a researcher and paying for copies of documents.
  • Vermont Ski Resort Developers Accused of Misusing $200M in ‘Ponzi-like‘ Scheme

    VTDigger began exposing allegations of fraud at a ski resort in northern Vermont two years before the Securities and Exchange Commission brought charges last April against the developers in what is now the largest EB-5 immigrant investor fraud case in the nation’s history. After the story broke, we investigated how the state of Vermont failed to protect investors.
  • Who’s getting rich off your student debt?

    America’s student loan system was created in the 1960s as part of an effort to alleviate poverty and inequality. But by 2016, some 42 million Americans owed an astonishing $1.3 trillion on their student loans, and the debt load had doubled in eight years. How did a program intended to help deserving students go to college become a profit center for Wall Street, private investors, even the government? We sought to document how the nation’s student loan crisis unfolded – and who has profited from it.
  • How Cash Sent the Portland Housing Market Spinning

    Cash is king in red-hot Portland real estate, representing a full one-third of single-family home sales in 2014. Lee van der Voo’s seven-part series on the Portland housing market has uncovered in stark outline the often-obscured influence of cash from developers, foreign buyers and Wall Street in driving affordable housing from the city. Twenty-six investors who purchased more than 10 homes for cash in the listed market in Multnomah County through the recession. Average Black and Native American households priced out of the city. A publicly traded company that is renting out more than 200 Portland-area homes in a new twist on the asset-securitization that drove the Great Recession. The pension funds of teachers and police officers invested in cash-rich Wall Street landlords who compete on the housing market with the very middle-class professionals whose pensions they hold. With van der Voo’s reporting, an economic crisis that everyone in town talked about but no one could explain was given names, faces and numbers — and a hope of being fixed.