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 "loophole" ...

  • Zombie Campaigns

    Zombie Campaigns is an in-depth look at the spending habits of 102 former congresspeople who kept spending campaign donations as if they were still campaigning well after they left office. The reporting uncovered a wealth of personal spending and shone a light on loopholes that allowed some politicians to continue spending for decades after they retired, and in some cases even after they died. Along with the story, we published a searchable database of spending by those candidates we identified as running a zombie campaign.
  • WSAW: A Dying Wish

    After receiving a letter from a woman who was found dead, WSAW-TV's investigative reporter uncovered loopholes regarding the creation of churches, all while discovering small mistakes made by a county, a state agency and a federal agency allowing a church, some trustees call fake, to exist.
  • WEWS-TV: Evading Justice

    The Ohio sex offender registry is supposed to help keep the public safe by providing access to information about convicts who have committed serious sexual offenses. But our extensive six-month-long investigation uncovered a loophole used by prosecutors and judges in one of the largest counties in the state that results in many accused rapists evading the registry. We found oftentimes the justice system allows suspects charged with rape to plead down to lesser and even completely unrelated charges – in a three-year period, there were more than 100 accused rapists who pleaded guilty to abduction, assault and endangering children, which allowed them to avoid registering as sex offenders. We also found many of those same defendants went on to be charged with another sexual offense after they evaded the registry, showing how this practice can put the public at risk.
  • The Texas Observer and Grist with The Investigative Fund: Too Big to Fine, Too Small to Fight Back

    Citgo refineries spew thousands of tons of chemicals into the air, degrading air quality and putting human health at risk. Despite Citgo's revenues hitting north of $40 billion, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality lets the company off easy. For her investigation in The Texas Observer, in partnership with Grist and The Investigative Fund, Naveena Sadasivam dug into how the TCEQ has fined corporate polluters $30 million for air violations, not much more than the $24 million imposed on gas stations, a significant percentage of which are owned by immigrants, just for record-keeping errors. The disparity between TCEQ's treatment of mom-and-pop operations versus large corporations favors those with money and power. The agency rarely punishes big polluters, often because of a legal loophole, and when it does levy a fine, lawyers negotiate big reductions in penalties. As a result, environmental advocates and small business owners say there's a fundamental unfairness at work with the way TCEQ treats the businesses it regulates.
  • Texas Observer: Access Denied

    The Texas Public Information Act is under attack. The law, which ensures the public’s access to government records, has taken a beating from state Supreme Court jurists, lawmakers and state agencies since it was passed in 1973. Once a shining example of government transparency, the law has been eroded by a growing list of loopholes for everything from ongoing police investigations and the dates of birth of government employees to information related to executions. Journalists are well aware of this problem, but it had never been presented to the public in a deep-dive feature until now. “Access Denied” reveals that government officials can delay, derail and deny requests by slow-walking them or charging exorbitant fees. This piece was reported over six months and included interviews with dozens of government officials, investigative journalists, citizen activists and researchers.
  • KXAN: DENIED

    Texas law gives police discretion to withhold information when suspects die in custody. Legislative efforts to close that loophole have failed, but it has not stopped the families who have been denied video and other records detailing their loved ones' final moments from speaking out. A KXAN investigation sheds light on this statewide need for police accountability, transparency and trust.
  • Judicial appointment loophole sparks debate over NY constitution

    This story reveals a longtime but little-known practice of governors using a law to create one of their biggest, six-figure patronage mills to appoint appoint judges to critical courts that the constitution says are to be be presided over by elected judges.
  • City Limits: The Long-Term Impact of the LLC Loophole

    A detailed, data-heavy investigation of a controversial feature of New York State's campaign finance landscape that permits corporations to contribute virtually unlimited funds to candidates for state office. Unlike other treatments, this story looks at the full span of the LLC's two-decade impact, the candidates who have benefited most, the entities that have given the highest amounts, their legislative agendas and the impact of the money on state politics.
  • Why is it ‘easy’ to steal from youth sports?

    Our investigation exposed how a prominent youth sports league that went to the Little League World Series was being ripped off by adult leaders. When we looked statewide, we found gaping loopholes in youth sport finances.
  • Two-Hour Diploma

    “Two-Hour Diploma” started with a late-night hotline tip in February of 2018. Ten months later, at the time of this entry, the shock waves it produced continue to reverberate throughout the state of Maryland. Using deep dive, old-fashioned investigative journalism, this series produced results. A Baltimore high school was shut down after Fox45 enrolled an undercover student who received a diploma in two hours. Multiple state investigations were launched leading to other schools being shut down. Lawmakers, including the Governor, promised legislative action in Annapolis when session opens in January. And Fox45 jumped right through the massive loopholes this investigation exposed by opening our own church and school – right under the state’s nose. Two weeks after filing the paperwork, Good News Academy was certified and approved by the Maryland State Department of Education. As all this was unfolding, investigative reporter Chris Papst was sued by a school operator and physical threats were made against Papst and Fox45 for which the police were called. In an effort to stop the investigation, Fox45’s sources were threatened with violence and had their property vandalized. “Two-Hour Diploma” was produced by Project Baltimore, a team of Fox45 journalists committed to a long-term investigation of education in the Baltimore area.