Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "political influence" ...

  • The Daily Beast: Pay Dirt

    Pay Dirt is a weekly newsletter covering campaign finance, political influence, and corruption. These six stories, each of which led the newsletter for that day, covered a range of topics that shed light on the special interests trying to buy elections and influence American policymaking.
  • In These Times: Why the United States Leaves Deadly Chemicals on the Market

    We investigated the numerous ways the chemical industry influences regulation of chemicals by the EPA and the FDA. Specifically, we discovered that industry-funded researchers have used a particular type of scientific study called “physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling” to support industry claims that economically important chemicals are safe. We found that the scientists who pioneered PBPK modeling while working for the Air Force in the early 1980s had recognized early on that PBPK studies could be used to industry’s advantage. As we examined the record over the past four decades, it became clear that these studies are primarily conducted by regulatory toxicologists working as private consultants or for research institutions funded by chemical companies. Further, these same individuals and consultancies often receive federal grants and contracts, suggesting widespread conflicts of interest. Our investigation documents the outcome – often delay or outright termination – of regulatory processes for numerous hazardous chemicals, including methylene chloride, formaldehyde, bisphenol A, perchlorate, styrene, and chlorpyrifos. While other journalists have documented the chemical industry’s political influence, to our knowledge no other journalists have brought to light the ways science itself is being manipulated.
  • 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.
  • Rural Center investigation

    Reporting that revealed questionable grant making, overstated job creation claims, breaking of rules, political influence, conflicts of interest and a large built-up cash balance of taxpayers money at the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, the longtime leading agency for rural development in North Carolina. This reporting led to the creation of a new state agency to oversee and administer millions in rural grants in North Carolina; the transfer of about $100 million back to the state, including $27 million that had not been earmarked for any projects in rural areas. The reporting, along with a state audit that was subsequent to the reporting, also contributed to the abrupt resignation of the longtime president at the Rural Center and its chairman of the board. More than a half dozen board members recused from making decisions immediately after a story spotlighted conflicts and potential conflicts.
  • “Light, Sweet, Crude: a former US ambassador peddles influence in Afghanistan

    In 2010, Zalmay Khalilzad, former US Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan in the George W. Bush administration, tried unsuccessfully to win an oil contract in Afghanistan by wielding his political influence gained through the US-led invasion and occupation on behalf an oil company, Tethys Petroleum, with which he had professional ties and financial stakes. My investigation unearthed damning documentation of his influence peddling not previously made public nor reported upon. It also revealed a source who alleged only to me that Khalilzad paid for inside information, which, if true, could amount to an illegal bribe under Afghanistan’s Hydrocarbons Law and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • Faking the Grade

    The Texas Tribune spent three months investigating a No Child Left Behind program directing millions in federal dollars to private tutoring for low-income students. The project, which required the filing of more than 60 public information requests, gathered records from school districts and state agencies that documented years of complaints and poor performance. In a four-part series, Faking the Grade examined the consequences of the policy — and the political influence of the companies that profited the most from it.
  • ... But Nobody Pays That

    The story set out to explain and uncover the ways companies and business executives take advantage of the current tax code and use lobbying and political influence to gain more favorable treatment.
  • Pension Secrecy and Costly Descisions

    These investigative stories, by the Tampa Bay Times, have documented investment debacles, political influence peddling, and oversight failures at the nation's fourth largest pension fund.
  • Secret Land Deal Topples Top Official

    Palm Beach County Commission Chairman Tony Masilotti used a secret land trust, "shell companies and straw men" to hide his interest in land deals. The Post tells the story of how he made $10 million "using his political influence." The money was never reported on his financial disclosure forms. He was removed from office and erased from the county's Web site.
  • Governor Blagojevich Investigation

    "This is a collection of Chicago Tribune reports detailing how the private and political friends of Gov. Rod Blagojevich won regulatory favors, state contracts and a striking amount of political influence after hiring the governor's wife as their personal real estate agent and by bundling millions in campaign contributions to the governor."