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 "local officials" ...

  • KPCC: Homeless Shelters

    L.A. has the largest population of unsheltered homeless people in the country. Local officials are looking to massively expand shelter space--but KPCC found thousands of existing beds sit empty each night. Why? Our investigation turned up troubling safety and sanitation issues in shelters, as well as a regulatory system ill-equipped to make improvements, let alone manage a successful shelter expansion.
  • Insight with John Ferrugia: Protecting the Vulnerable

    The Rocky Mountain PBS investigation, Protecting the Vulnerable, brought various cases of abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of intellectually disabled adults to the attention of state and local officials as well as community advocates, prompting them to improve the safety of Colorado’s host home system by reviewing and enhancing state regulations and working to develop new legislation.
  • Jailhouse Jeopardy

    In 2009, the Department of Justice unearthed piles of evidence of abuse, deaths and corruption at the Harris County jail – and then they’d gone away. But instead of improvements local officials had promised, the Houston Chronicle’s own wide-ranging probe – called Jailhouse Jeopardy – revealed the county jail – one of the nation’s largest – remained an extremely dangerous and violent place. The series documented dozens of preventable deaths, rampant abuse of prisoners by guards – including two guard-related homicides, unjust prosecutions launched by guards who’d abused inmates and tough judges who routinely locked up elderly and even dying defendants in one of Texas’ most extreme pretrial detention policies. The series featured compelling video testimonials of violent and tragic episodes, including a widow who watched her husband die in a jailhouse restraint video, parents who lost their son after he contracted the flu in jail, a man locked up for three years after being accused of a crime by a guard who'd broken his finger and many other untold stories.
  • KARE 11 Investigates: Minneapolis VA

    As the VA wait time scandal unfolded nationally, local officials initially denied there were secret wait lists at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, then widely considered a national model of excellence. But in September, 2014, KARE 11 News disclosed how lives may have been put at risk by record falsification in Minneapolis. KARE 11’s investigation detailed allegations of VA whistleblowers that went far beyond being pressured to keep secret wait lists to cover up serious appointment delays.
  • Nowhere to Turn

    “Nowhere to Turn” found that a failure of Seattle-area government officials to comply with technicalities in an obscure state law was causing hundreds of severely mentally ill patients to be released to the streets without any treatment or monitoring. The patients, who had all been found to be in imminent danger of hurting themselves or others, were being released on average every other day in King County. Local officials knew about the problem three years before the investigation began but had never notified the state about the releases or even attempted to count how often they occurred. In fact, county officials violated the Public Disclosure Act to hide information released to their failure. Only the threat of a lawsuit forced the release of emails that revealed the problem.
  • Corruption in Iraq

    Before the Iraqi district of Sinjar in Ninewa province fell into the hands of the Islamic State, foul drinking water was making people sick with preventable diseases. The U.S. tried to fix the problem by digging wells and treatment facilities, but poor oversight and shoddy work from contractors left the area no better than it had started, despite millions of dollars spent in reconstruction money. An investigation into Iraqi efforts to fix the problem after the U.S. withdrew showed that projects remained unfinished, but money for maintenance and fuel continued to pour into the pockets of local officials. In an area where extremists use frustration over corruption to recruit followers. the implications of this corruption couldn’t be more serious.
  • What Happened to Kendrick Johnson?

    For eight hours a day, six days a week, two grieving parents stand on a South Georgia street corner with homemade signs, family photos and a question: “What Happened to Kendrick Johnson?” January 10, 2013, their 17-year-old son disappeared between classes at his Valdosta high school. The next morning, the three-sport star’s body was found upside down in a rolled mat in the school’s gym. Within hours of finding Johnson’s body, local investigators determined his death was an accident. A state medical examiner agreed and the case was closed. The teenager’s parents never believed the official story but their pleas for outside officials to investigate were ignored. CNN’s Victor Blackwell was the first television correspondent outside the Johnson’s small community to report the story. As other national and international news organizations began to take interest in the story, CNN continued to lead. Blackwell and CNN producer Devon Sayers literally traveled across the country searching for answers. They were the first or only team to report more than 40 major developments in the story. CNN has filed nearly two-dozen requests for open records. Despite strong resistance from local officials, CNN has exposed internal finger-pointing over withheld evidence and a compromised investigation, missing body parts and suspicious holes in school surveillance footage, which CNN successfully sued to obtain. After CNN’s more than 20 reports, each offering exclusive details, the Department of Justice launched a federal investigation into Johnson’s death and the sheriff’s handling of the case. The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office also launched an investigation into a local funeral home’s treatment of Johnson’s corpse. Those investigations are ongoing. Beyond reporting the details of a bizarre and emotional story, CNN’s continued coverage of the circumstances surrounding the death of Kendrick Johnson fulfills a core mission of journalism: It holds those in power accountable.
  • Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation

    Investigative reporting by John Dougherty in Phoenix New Times demonstrated that multiple errors by the state of Arizona and the city of Prescott contributed to the deaths of 19 wild-lands firefighters in last summer's Yarnell Hill blaze. The revelations published in the Yarnell Hill fire articles came from information obtained through public-records requests and from well-placed sources. The original story discovered that a multitude of mistakes were made by state and local officials in fighting the fire, errors that contributed to the deaths of the 19 forest firemen at Yarnell Hill. The second story came after Prescott's wild-lands chief, in charge of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, alleged multiple misstatements of fact in the first story. This resulted in the correction of three errors, though no major finding of the original piece was proved wrong. (It should be noted that officials refused specific comment repeatedly before the original story was published, only coming forward later in an effort to dispute New Times' reporting.) The third story showed how a Forestry Division-commissioned report on the tragedy – which found that no official did anything wrong – was seriously flawed. Indeed, experts termed it a “coverup.” The fourth article examined an occupational-safety report supporting the paper's findings regarding state ineptitude at Yarnell Hill. The Forestry Division was fined more than $500,000 because of its flawed management of the fire, and lawsuits against the Forestry Division and Prescott's are in the works by families of the slain firefighters.
  • Hazard in the Heartland

    Following a devastating fertilizer explosion in West, Texas, a WFAA investigation revealed widespread mishandling of ammonium nitrate, as well as failures in chemical disaster preparedness, prompting state officials to take action to encourage local officials to form federally-mandated safety committees designed to prevent future disasters.
  • Garden State Parkway anti-terrorist fence

    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority paid a politically-connected contractor to build a $250,000 security fence around a South Jersey bridge identified as a terrorist target. Local officials said the issue was never discussed with them first and that the fence was wasteful. The NJTA refused to discuss details of the study that led to the fencing. Meanwhile, the public scoffed at the idea of the fencing, which they criticized as unsightly, wasteful and ineffective. One of our stories highlighted the project's flaws when a Press reporter found an open gate that fishermen said they used daily to get to a favorite spot under the targeted bridge. Public outrage over the project led the highway authority to remove the fence, but not before South Jersey lawmakers introduce legislation that would require the North Jersey based highway authority to include South Jersey representation.