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 "legislators" ...

  • Daily Herald: Illinois tollway series

    The Illinois tollway, governed by a nonelected board of political appointees, is the only option to get around the Chicago region for millions of drivers who spend $1.3 billion annually to use the system. While hardworking customers paid tolls, tollway executives and board directors were quietly hiring political insiders for high-paying jobs, handing lucrative contracts to firms where their relatives worked, and weakening bylaws to water down the tollway board’s conflict-of-interest rules. As the Daily Herald exposed nepotism, patronage and excessive spending at the tollway, the agency’s leaders fought back. Tactics included denying FOIAs, concealing information and accusing the newspaper of harassment. The Daily Herald’s investigation caught the attention of other media, two governors and state lawmakers who ultimately fired the tollway board of directors in early 2019. Legislators credited the Herald’s investigative series with alerting the public about what Gov. J.B. Pritzker referred to “unethical behavior.”
  • ADG: Violent Reality

    Since 1999, more than 8,000 Arkansans have died by gunfire — about half of them suicides. Although many law enforcement officials and legislators say that gun-control laws might work, they are unwilling to act. The stories explore the effect of specific laws on gun violence in other states, suicide-prevention advocates' work with gun sellers to keep weapons out of suicidal individuals' possession, and federal law enforcement's efforts to keep guns out of the hands of felons.
  • Lien on Me

    It seemed, at first, to be an isolated case of an aggressive bill collector going after a patient, but six months after KUSA-TV heard an initial complaint, the station’s investigative team found a widespread practice of surgeons using the courts to secure thousands from their patients. The practice has left the hundreds of thousands of people with insurance vulnerable to lawsuits, wage garnishments and property liens. “Lien on Me” has legislators promising change and the region’s largest group of surgeons promising to back off.
  • Neglected Neighbors: How Elderly Housing Policies Fail Connecticut's Most Vulnerable

    Thismulti-part series investigates a decades-old policy that mixes the elderly with disabled residents of any age in the same public housing. Dating back to the bills that established public housing during President Roosevelt’s administration, the definition of “elderly” was defined to include not only people over a certain age, but also people with disabilities. Today, that definition remains, despite decades-worth of government studies that show it to be problematic to house these populations together. Recommendations were made to ease management and social issues, but few were implemented. In Connecticut, legislators have been repeatedly warned about worsening issues by housing authorities and residents. Today, the policy is still in effect, and failing both the elderly and disabled people who live there.
  • Bias on the bench

    Florida legislators have struggled for 30 years to create an equitable justice system. But a Herald-Tribune investigation, involving an unprecedented analysis of tens of millions of electronic records, shows that black defendants are punished more severely than white defendants who commit the same crimes and have similar criminal backgrounds. Judges in Florida offer blacks fewer changes to avoid jail or scrub away felonies. They give blacks more time behind bars – sometimes double the sentences of whites. No news organization, university or government agency has ever done such a comprehensive investigation of sentences handed down by individual judges on a statewide scale. http://projects.heraldtribune.com/bias/
  • State Police Secrets and Surveillance

    The Texas Department of Public Safety and politicians for years worked behind the scenes to create a system of surveillance, casting a net that included potential criminals and everyday innocent citizens. DPS, the state police, began covering up secrets and limiting media access when The Dallas Morning News Watchdog Desk began investigating. That led to the agency sending private memos to state legislators and staff in an attempt to stop or discredit The News', and other media outlets, story publications.
  • Legislative Spending

    Both of the 2015 stories were part of an occasional series, “Watchdog Report: Legislative Spending,” that began in 2014. The series is based on an exclusive database created by The Morning Call to analyze legislators’ spending. Before that, taxpayers would have found it difficult to nearly impossible to find out how their representatives were spending their money. Legislators are not required to publicly reveal their individual expenses and the records are not uniform or easily digested http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/legislator-expense-reports/mc-pa-house-expense-map-htmlstory.html http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/legislator-expense-reports/mc-pa-senate-expense-map-htmlstory.html
  • Broken System, Missing Money?

    KOB's investigative team exposed a serious blind spot in New Mexico's campaign finance system. The system is supposed to give voters honest and accurate information about who is bankrolling political campaigns in the state, but KOB found a $300,000 discrepancy in records tied to 11 elected leaders alone. The findings prove that it's nearly impossible to accurately follow the political money trail in New Mexico with confidence. Numerous legislators are now calling for reform and have drafted proposals and legislation as a result of KOB’s reporting.
  • House Stealing Investigation Changes State Law

    Our investigation revealed rampant criminal activity among opportunists trying to capitalize on loopholes in Georgia law and ultimately led to a change in the law, the creation of a fraud registry, and the indictment of eight people. Four years earlier, we had already exposed another group's efforts to steal empty homes by filing false deeds however several members of the racketeering enterprise were acquitted, which exposed legal flaws. Our latest investigation spotlighted how a few members of the group were able to expand their enterprise to target regular homeowners rather than foreclosures, and steal some of the very homes for which they'd previously been arrested. Once we approached legislators about the loopholes, they fast-tracked new legislation to make this activity a felony.
  • Sex Offender Program

    The stories spotlighted a little-known state agency and civil commitment program that purported to be a treatment program for convicted sex offenders, revealing questionable and abusive practices and raising questions about its constitutionality. In addition to uncovering the details of questionable contracts, the stories revealed a systemic and ongoing failure by state officials to conduct the civil commitment program in accordance with state law, best practices, and its overall constitutionality. Unlike civil commitment programs in other states, Texas’ program effectively operated as an additional criminal punishment for some of society’s least sympathetic offenders, forcing them into a purported treatment and educational program no one has successfully completed in its 15-year history. The stories have sparked a nearly completed housecleaning of the Office of Violent Sex Offender Management leadership and plans for a revamp of the entire program. The state district judge who oversees most of the court cases involving the civil commitment program also is the subject of an investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. In addition to a series of investigations and a state audit underway, legislators have called for an overhaul of the program and may revisit the original authorizing law.