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 "lobbyist" ...

  • Almost Forbidden

    As vaping-related youth nicotine addiction surged across the United States, we exposed a key political decision to ignore the clear warning signs years before the crisis. Government documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times revealed that, four years ago, the Food and Drug administration attempted to ban vaping flavors that were hooking young teenagers to nicotine. But after a deluge of over 100 lobbyists visited the White House, senior political officials overruled experts at the FDA and eliminated the flavor ban, along with much of the scientific evidence calling for it. Later that year, the national youth vaping rate skyrocketed.
  • VicAd: Port Politics

    When disgraced former Congressman Blake Farenthold resurfaced as the Calhoun Port Authority's first full-time lobbyist at an annual salary of $160,000, the public was outraged. Farenthold later said in a deposition that he and the port board thought they could weather this initial storm and continue to do business as they always had outside the public view. All other state and national media quickly moved on from the story, but the Victoria Advocate kept digging and found that the public had a lot more to be outraged about.
  • The Trace: NRA Lobbyist Marion Hammer

    In this investigative profile, Mike Spies exposes how the NRA’s most powerful lobbyist turned Florida into a lab for the nation’s most aggressive gun laws.
  • The Center for Public Integrity: Tax Breaks: The Favored Few

    In February 2018, Congress passed a massive budget bill, and President Donald Trump signed it. It provided new money for the military. It funded disaster relief efforts. And it raised the nation’s “debt ceiling” — allowing the government to secure new loans. While these provisions grabbed headlines amid the chaos of what was, at best, a slapdash scramble to pass a budget and avert another government shutdown, a gaggle of goodies, benefiting a bevy of special interests, slipped into the bill’s 652 pages almost unnoticed. These goodies are called “tax extenders.” Seeing an opportunity to boldly tell an effectively untold tale, the staff of the Center for Public Integrity endeavored to explain how every tax extender — more than 30 in all — came to fruition and reveal how lobbyists gamed the political system and squeezed $16 billion worth of special favors from it. This project represented a rare example of deep investigative reporting on Congress. While hundred of reporters cover what Mitch MCConnell and Nancy Pelosi said yesterday, very few unravel how the institution of Congress is corrupted.
  • The Center for Public Integrity: How a Sanctioned Russian Bank Wooed Washington

    Foreign campaigns to influence American officials are supposed to be transparent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law requiring detailed disclosure of foreign influence efforts. But few believe FARA — passed in 1938 to combat Nazi propaganda — has been working well. It is riddled with exemptions. Enforcement is weak. Criminal penalties apply only to willful violations. Lobbying by VTB, a Kremlin-owned Russian bank under sanctions, is a case study in the flaws of FARA. The bank’s hired lobbyists failed to disclose a series of meetings with government officials on behalf of the sanctioned bank until months after U.S. law required them to, and one firm did so only after being contacted by the Center for Public Integrity. The bank sponsored an exclusive gala and invited American officials who oversee sanctions through intermediaries, avoiding disclosure requirements.
  • Full Measure: The Foreign Connection

    Foreigners are barred from directly giving money to American politicians and political parties. But it turns out, there’s a legal way around that. It involves well-connected middlemen in the U.S., PR firms, and lobbyists, acting as foreign agents. They’re paid huge sums to get foreigners access to U.S. government officials that most Americans will never have. They may even help write our laws and direct your tax dollars to foreign interests. And when so many are talking about a foreign issue- for example, Russia, you can bet foreign agents are in the background pulling strings. For the past eight months, we’ve been examining The Foreign Connection to Russia and Ukraine.
  • Lobbying Public Agencies by Day, Guarding Public Dollars by Night

    Andy Berg lobbies public and private agencies for electrician jobs by day, and by night he chairs the San Diego Unified school bond oversight committee, a group tasked with ensuring the district's $4.9 billion in bond dollars are spent as promised to voters without waste. The fact that following the bond money leads you to the pockets of many of Berg’s electricians and his bosses, he says, is inconsequential.
  • Fixed Fortunes: Biggest corporate political interests spend billions, get trillions

    In the era of billion-dollar presidential campaigns and political groups that can raise donations in unlimited amounts from almost any source, we are used to reading stories about the large amounts of money that special interests invest in politics. But what do they get out of the government they spend so much trying to influence by supporting political campaigns and parties or hiring well-connected lobbyists?
  • CBS 5 Investigates: Lobbyist Gifts to Lawmakers

    CBS 5 Investigates uncovered thousands of dollars in gifts Arizona state lawmakers were accepting, but failing to report. During their investigation, they traced these gifts through a set of complex state databases that contained lobbyist disclosures, but did not directly connect them to the lawmakers they were financially benefitting. The computer-assisted portion of their investigation took more than 150 hours of analysis. Their finished product included two news stories that appeared during regular newscasts, and a 20-minute special report that aired as part of our 10pm news. In addition, They created a searchable database, that allowed their viewers to find out how much their lawmakers had accepted from lobbyists.
  • A "sting" buried

    The Philadelphia Inquirer triggered arrests, legislative reforms, ethics investigations, resignations – and political turmoil statewide – after the newspaper revealed that Pennsylvania’s attorney general had secretly shut down an undercover investigation that had caught public officials on tape taking money or gifts. In late 2013, state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane secretly shut down a sting operation that had captured officials on tape accepting cash from an operative posing as a lobbyist ostensibly seeking political influence and government contracts. Her decision was kept from the public – restricted under court seal – for months until Inquirer reporters Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis broke the story. Their initial package sparked a statewide furor – and set the stage for months of additional investigative pieces and news developments.