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 "private" ...

  • Why Did The Washington Post Name The White House Volunteer Accused In Prostitution Scandal?

    The Washington Post broke several details about the United States Secret Service this year and received high praise. But The Washington Post's explosive Oct. 8 allegations about a former White House volunteer soliciting a prostitute during a 2012 trip to Cartagena, and unsubstantiated claims of a White House cover-up, deserved scrutiny. The Huffington Post looked deeply at the alleged "evidence" and published private correspondence between editors and attorneys to show that much of what was promoted as new information on Oct. 8 had been rebutted more than seven months earlier. It was later revealed that a key source for the The Post had prostitution allegations against himself, raising more questions about the paper's decision to publish such potentially damaging claims.
  • DNAinfo.com New York

    DNAinfo New York reporters Rosa Goldensohn and James Fanelli investigated the private company contracted by New York City to provide health care for inmates in city jails. They uncovered poor medical treatment that led to inmate deaths.
  • Charter Schools Unsupervised

    Florida’s charter-school laws were intended to spur innovation and provide academic freedom to charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run. But a Sun Sentinel investigation found the state’s loose laws also opened the door to abuses, allowing renegade operators to claim taxpayer dollars for schools that fail to serve students and quickly shut down, sometimes within weeks of opening. Charter Schools Unsupervised uniquely pieced together the rash of fly-by-night charter schools and recurring failures of unscrupulous operators, uncovering fundamental weaknesses in state and local oversight. The newspaper's reporting did what the state and school district vetting process failed to do: exposed troubled histories and questionable practices among charter-school operators in South Florida.
  • Green Going Gone: The Tragic Deforestation of the Chaco

    This corporate accountability story combined original satellite analysis with traditional on-the-ground investigative reporting to examine links between deforestation and the world’s largest agricultural commodities traders: The U.S.-based Cargill, Bunge and ADM. The story paid special attention to Cargill, North America’s largest private corporation and the commodities trader that has spent millions on its corporate sustainability program and aggressively promotes itself as a nature conservationist. Reported from Paraguay, the story compared the Big Ag traders’ soybean export operations in Paraguay with those in Brazil, where the three companies have won praise for upholding the Soy Moratorium, a voluntary ban on expanding the Amazon’s soybean frontier. The Moratorium is widely credited with slowing rainforest clearing in Brazil over the last eight years. In neighboring Paraguay during roughly the same timeframe, however, the country’s soybean cropland has expanded by nearly one-third with an additional 2.5 million acres brought into cultivation. This rapid expansion has set off a land rush that is, among other things, propelling the rapid disappearance of South America’s second most bio-diverse forests, the Gran Chaco.
  • Public Money, Private Profits

    David Sirota's run of coverage in the International Business Times lays bare how hedge funds, private equity investors and other professional money managers have penetrated an enormous and lucrative frontier – the roughly $3 trillion worth of public pension systems run by cities and states. The deal-making that has delivered this state of affairs has been laced with conflicts of interest and ethics breaches. Sirota produced a blockbuster scoop showing how the head of New Jersey’s pension system, the former private equity executive Robert Grady, had been in direct contact with top political staff working for the reelection of Gov. Chris Christie just as major campaign contributions were pouring into Christie’s coffers from financial services companies with contracts to manage state pension funds – an apparent violation of state and federal pay-to-play laws.
  • Profiting from Prisoners

    "Profiting from Prisoners" is a multiplatform investigative project revealing how financial companies have become central players in a multi-billion dollar economy that shifts the costs of incarceration onto the families of prison inmates and helps private companies profit from these captive customers. The stories and documentary put human faces on a growing structural inequity in society: As mass incarceration stretches prison budgets, prisons are cutting back on basic services like providing toilet paper and winter clothes for inmates. Families are forced to close the gap by paying into a hidden, multi-billion dollar pipeline of cash – facilitated by financial companies – that flows directly from relatives’ pockets to the coffers of prisons and the vendors they employ. The series’ second major story, based on previously undisclosed government documents, detailed multi-year, no-bid contracts granted to Bank of America and JP Morgan to provide financial and other services in federal prisons.
  • Telemundo 39 Diploma Mills

    Diploma mills have become prominent in North Texas. These businesses open shop as alleged private schools in small offices and offer home-school programs. They promised people a high school diploma in exchange of a flat fee. They take advantage of a loophole in Texas Law that protects home-school students from being discriminated by colleges or universities. People running these diploma mills are making thousands of dollars selling bogus diplomas, and the students are finding out the hard way. Some of them realize that the diplomas are useless when applying for work or for financial aid. After their broadcast, the group of students showcased in the first part received a money order with a refund for their diploma fee.
  • An Inside Track

    A groundbreaking investigation by Dallas Morning News reporters Ed Timms and Kevin Krause exposed questionable practices by a nonprofit agency created by local governments in part to avoid public scrutiny of the certification process for minority- and woman-owned businesses.. The reporters and their newspaper fought a lengthy legal battle for more than a year that resulted in a strong legal precedent that may deter other governments from trying to circumvent open records law by forming nonprofits. The investigation revealed that the local governments had relied on a temporary employment firm had operated the nonprofit agency for more than a decade. Employees of that private firm certified their own company as a minority-owned business, even as it won millions in contracts from those same governments. The employees also decided whether their company's competitors and subcontractors got certified. It also disclosed that the company, and other contractors, failed to adequately screen temporary employees provided to Dallas County.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2014 Cyber Attack Reporting

    Over the past decade, hackers have stolen trade secrets, millions of personal identities, and wrought havoc on some of the world’s biggest companies. Some of these actions were orchestrated by lone criminals; some by governments. All of them share one thing in common: The details are never revealed. That changed in 2014 when Bloomberg Businessweek published a trio of deeply reported stories by Michael Riley and Bloomberg colleagues about digital attacks. Each vividly takes readers into the secretive world of hackers and exposes corporate America’s vulnerabilities in startling detail. “The Epic Hack: Target ignored its own alarms – and turned its customers into victims," "How Russian Hackers Stole the NASDAQ” and “Now at the Sands: Iranian Hackers in Every Server” exemplify superlative investigative reporting in a complex field alongside masterful storytelling.
  • Inmates making insiders wealthy

    Privately owned and operated work-release programs are a new fad in corrections. Work-release programs tend to reduce recidivism rates and inmates are able to save some money while in prison so they don’t re-enter the real world penniless. Privately run programs, according to proponents, are superior to those run by public entities, because private operators take a percentage of inmate wages and are thus incentivized to find the best possible jobs for inmates. However, as The Advocate’s stories have shown, the private companies that get this work tend to be politically connected, and they don’t have any real incentive to provide quality housing or food or to prevent escapes. They chronicled problems with escapes, drug use and even death at one outfit run by friends of the sheriff of St. Tammany Parish, a New Orleans suburb. That facility was shut down after our reporting (which the sheriff called “reckless”). As another direct result of their investigation, the state secretary of the Department of Corrections announced that in the future, work-release programs would only get contracts after undergoing a competitive process.