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.

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  • Opportunity Zones

    Trump’s only significant legislative achievement was his 2017 tax code overhaul. It contained a provision to help the poor, called “opportunity zones.” In 2019, ProPublica showed that while the benefits to the poor have not yet materialized, some people have already reaped the rewards: the wealthy and politically connected. We found that wealthy developers lobbied government officials and got their long-planned investments in luxury projects included in the program, despite its avowed goal of attracting new investment into poor areas. Critically, two of our stories feature areas that never should have been qualified for the program in the first place, but were allowed in by a deeply flawed implementation of the law by the U.S. Treasury Department. They were then selected by state governors after lobbying efforts by wealthy developers. Our articles, along with those of other outlets, led to Congressional calls for investigations into the designation process, as well as proposed reforms to make the program more transparent and to eliminate potential abuses by investors.
  • Bribery Division

    The Bribery Division, an international investigation into Latin America’s largest construction company, reveals fresh evidence of hundreds of millions of dollars in suspicious payments linked to major infrastructure projects. Brazilian multinational Odebrecht has been implicated in a cash-for-contracts scandal that the U.S. Department of Justice has described as “the largest foreign bribery case in history.” The Bribery Division investigation unveils dramatic new information in taking readers inside the belly of the beast: Odebrecht’s Division of Structured Operations, a specialized unit created for the primary purpose of managing the company’s graft. A team of more than 50 journalists across the Americas, led by ICIJ, examined more than 13,000 Odebrecht documents from a secret communication platform used by the Structured Operations unit. The team’s sprawling expose revealed Odebrecht’s cash-for-contracts operation was even bigger than the company had acknowledged to prosecutors and had involved prominent figures and massive public works projects not mentioned in the criminal cases or other official inquiries to date.
  • PublicSource: Revelations of police technology problems spark FBI scrutiny, alleged retaliation and unfinished work

    For the first time, PublicSource reported how Pittsburgh's reform-minded police chief touched off an FBI investigation into how city employee's handled software contracts. Included were projects that were never implemented by 2018, though they were fully paid for five years earlier using federal funds. The federal investigation ended without any charges, but internal investigations in the city were ongoing. A former officer also claims he faced retaliation for reporting concerns about tech projects, specifically from one of the city's highest ranking public safety officials. He is currently suing the city over several of the same concerns first publicly reported in our stories. Our stories led directly to internal changes in city purchasing and increased scrutiny of purchasing by City Council.
  • PublicSource: Pittsburgh's lack of cybersecurity and transparency

    The City of Pittsburgh's cybersecurity is lacking, according to a commissioned report, and officials won't address the issues publicly. That same report found serious issues with the way the city handles software and other IT projects and how it structures its Department of Innovation & Performance. Through a public records request and "copy and paste" sleuthing, PublicSource revealed details about how city cybersecurity and IT practices are lacking, potentially putting citizens and local government at risk.
  • GateHouse Media: Failure to Deliver

    More women are choosing to deliver their babies outside the hospital as a part of a growing national trend, but a nine-month investigation by GateHouse Media and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune found that it’s a deadlier practice than hospital deliveries and leaves families little recourse when something goes wrong.
  • ADG: Violent Reality

    Since 1999, more than 8,000 Arkansans have died by gunfire — about half of them suicides. Although many law enforcement officials and legislators say that gun-control laws might work, they are unwilling to act. The stories explore the effect of specific laws on gun violence in other states, suicide-prevention advocates' work with gun sellers to keep weapons out of suicidal individuals' possession, and federal law enforcement's efforts to keep guns out of the hands of felons.
  • Pennsylvania Turnpike investigation

    WTAE TV revealed waste, mismanagement and conflicts of interest at the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Emails showed turnpike officials congratulating themselves for their response to a storm that left more than 500 drivers stranded for more than 20 hours. Records revealed turnpike commissioners getting take-home cars even though they meet only once a month. Documents showed a turnpike commissioner cutting personal business deals with turnpike vendors. All this occurred as the turnpike hiked tolls and cut back on projects to deal with a financial crisis.
  • Silent Majority/Mayoria Silenciosa

    A first-of-its-kind analysis found deep patterns of under-representation of the fast growing Hispanic population on city councils and county commissioners courts across Texas. http://projects.statesman.com/news/latino-representation/
  • Hell and High Water

    The Houston area is home to 6.5 million people, as well as America’s largest oil refining and petrochemical complex. And it’s a sitting duck for the extreme storms and floods that will become more common as the effects of climate change become more pronounced. So why isn’t Texas — or the federal government — doing more to protect it? https://projects.propublica.org/houston/
  • Bias on the bench

    Florida legislators have struggled for 30 years to create an equitable justice system. But a Herald-Tribune investigation, involving an unprecedented analysis of tens of millions of electronic records, shows that black defendants are punished more severely than white defendants who commit the same crimes and have similar criminal backgrounds. Judges in Florida offer blacks fewer changes to avoid jail or scrub away felonies. They give blacks more time behind bars – sometimes double the sentences of whites. No news organization, university or government agency has ever done such a comprehensive investigation of sentences handed down by individual judges on a statewide scale. http://projects.heraldtribune.com/bias/