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 "privatization" ...

  • The Profiteers

    The tale of the Bechtel family dynasty is a classic American business story. It begins with Warren A. “Dad” Bechtel, who led a consortium that constructed the Hoover Dam. From that auspicious start, the family and its eponymous company would go on to “build the world,” from the construction of airports in Hong Kong and Doha, to pipelines and tunnels in Alaska and Europe, to mining and energy operations around the globe. Today Bechtel is one of the largest privately held corporations in the world, enriched and empowered by a long history of government contracts and the privatization of public works, made possible by an unprecedented revolving door between its San Francisco headquarters and Washington. Bechtel executives John McCone, Caspar Weinberger, and George P. Shultz segued from leadership at the company to positions as Director of the CIA, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of State, respectively. Like all stories of empire building, the rise of Bechtel presents a complex and riveting narrative. In The Profiteers, Sally Denton, whom The New York Times called “a wonderful writer,” exposes Bechtel’s secret world and one of the biggest business and political stories of our time.
  • Michigan prison food privatization gone wrong

    Free Press Lansing bureau chief Paul Egan produced a series of exclusive reports on Michigan’s attempt to privatize prison food service and kept the heat up throughout 2014. His headlines included such stomach-turners as maggots found on meal lines, sex between Aramark employees and inmates, inmates served rotten meat, marijuana smuggling by an Aramark employee, growing inmate unrest -- even an Aramark worker who was suspected of trying to hire an inmate to kill another inmate. The stories prompted widespread revulsion and criticism of the contractor from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder – along with calls from Michigan lawmakers to cancel the three-year, $145 million Aramark contract.
  • Demoted to Private: America's Military Housing Disaster

    Political patronage, the zeal to privatize and a failure at background checks led to a disaster for taxpayers and military families in Pentagon housing programs in six states. All three branches of the service gave 8,000 military houses and billion-dollar contracts to a company headed by a politically-connected Texan involved in a messy bankruptcy and a Connecticut property management firm that had been previously suspended from HUD housing projects because it diverted millions to its own uses.
  • Blackwater

    Continuing the coverage of Blackwater, a private military company, from 2006, the Pilot exposed "several unresolved issues surrounding the unprecedented privatization of warfare that has become a hallmark of the wards in Iraq and Afghanistan."
  • The Highwaymen

    This investigation explores a recent trend: auctioning the maintenance of public highways and bridges to private companies. The article shows how privatization benefits the companies far more than the public. Private road operators charge high tolls and insist on non-compete clauses, so the government can't build other roads in the area.
  • University of Montana Space Programs

    The University of Montana was granted $3 million in federal earmarks from NASA between 2004 and 2005 to develop space research and create space-related jobs. UM used the money to create a for profit group called Inland Northwest Space Alliance, and a campus group called the Northern Rockies Center for Space Privatization. The majority of the money went to paying six figure salaries to university officials, former Sen. Conrad Burn's staffers, as well as their spouses and lovers.
  • The PZU Game

    The multi-billion dollar privatization of Poland insurance company PZU has raised questions. "Polish postcommunists and Dutch businessmen of unclear past" took over the company. The story focuses on the situation of Grzegorz Wieczerak, a PZU president who was accused of embezzlement. The evidence against him had been gathered by a company hired by people attempting to control PZU. The charges were eventually dropped, prompting Wieczerzak and his attorney to launch an investigation of their own.
  • Delaware's Deadly Prisons

    This four day series examined the health care for more than 6,000 inmates at Delaware's prisons. Documents and interviews showed that inmates did not receive routine or emergency care from state-contracted medical providers for ailments from cancer to AIDS. In several cases inmates died. The state did not oversee the contractors, and employees of the contractors said they were told that cost is more important than care.
  • Peter Jennings Reporting - No Place to Hide

    This investigation tracked the proliferation of government collection of personal data since September 11, 2001. It chronicles how the government coordinates with private industry to amass electronic data on millions of Americans -- in fact, most Americans. It discovered the secrecy meant to conceal the continuation of the government's Total Information Awareness program, which was killed by Congress and then broken into constituent parts.
  • Ports in the Storm

    The author audited the South Carolina State Ports Authority. He found that the agency, "...condemned land from private citizens, violated the state Freedom of Information Act, had questionable connections to private businesses associated with the state operation and perks like $7,600 golf club memberships paid from the state rolls."