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 "public money" ...

  • Unchecked Power

    After losing hard-fought reelection campaigns, Alabama’s sheriffs often turn their attention to undermining their successors in ways that abuse the public trust. On his way out the door, one sheriff drilled holes in government-issued cell phones, while another pocketed public money intended to feed inmates. The ousted leaders dumped jail food down the drain and burned through tens of thousands of sheriff's office dollars by purchasing thousands of rolls of toilet paper. These are among the findings of my six-month investigation into these practices for AL.com and the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. In June 2019, I chronicled the actions of nine defeated Alabama sheriffs, seven of whom allegedly destroyed public property, stole public funds and/or wasted taxpayer money after their electoral defeats. These stories were made possible by my realization that incoming sheriffs were often more willing to talk on the record about the bad behavior and criminality of predecessors who had taken advantage of them than they would be under other circumstances.
  • SeaTimes: Out of homelessness

    Project Homeless wasn’t conceived as an investigative unit. Reporting on potential solutions to the region’s worsening homelessness was, at least initially, our stated mission. But it became clear soon after I joined the team last year that the agencies and systems that play a role in the region’s response to homelessness have received little scrutiny from the press. So, I started taking a hard look at how they work and how the public money that keeps them running is spent. That's how I found the woman at the center of this story, Carolyn Malone. She was just one of several people I found who used publicly-funded rental housing vouchers, only to end up in a squalid and potentially unsafe rental home. Two of those homes were at one time owned by one of Seattle's worst slumlords.
  • Alabama's "Beach House Sheriff"

    Over the past decade, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin has turned the jail he operates in rural Alabama into a vehicle for his own enrichment. In 2018, AL.com investigative reporter Connor Sheets single-handedly exposed the pattern of exploitation and cost-cutting behind Entrekin’s financial success. This investigation revealed extensive wrongdoing by Entrekin, from improperly pocketing millions of dollars worth of public funds and mistreating inmates in his jail to spending public money on campaign ads and allegedly having sex with underage girls.
  • Alabama's "Beach House Sheriff"

    Over the past decade, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin has turned the jail he operates in rural Alabama into a vehicle for his own enrichment. In 2018, AL.com investigative reporter Connor Sheets single-handedly exposed the pattern of exploitation and cost-cutting behind Entrekin’s financial success. This investigation revealed extensive wrongdoing by Entrekin, from improperly pocketing millions of dollars worth of public funds and mistreating inmates in his jail to spending public money on campaign ads and allegedly having sex with underage girls.
  • Gov. Robert Bentley Scandal

    AL.com revealed first that Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a top aide. The relationship was far more than a sex scandal. It raised questions about the spending of public money and the use of state airplanes, law enforcement and other resources to perpetuate or cover up the relationship.
  • 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.
  • The Rise and Fall of a Patrón

    Our investigation showed how powerful political alliances helped United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) grow from a community group into a multimillion-dollar enterprise operating 16 taxpayer-funded charter schools, a janitorial firm and other businesses. We found a lack of oversight of charter school finances and operations cleared the way for alleged abuse. Specifically: UNO received more than $280 million in public money over the past five years but neither Chicago Public Schools nor the Illinois State Board of Education closely monitored how funds were spent. A large portion of the public money UNO collects goes to management fees, debt service and consultants rather than classrooms.
  • Ohio Board of Education

    In a unique collaborative effort, the Akron Beacon Journal and The NewsOutlet student journalism lab researched and published an investigative series on the Ohio State Board of Education, a body responsible for oversight of the education of 1.8 million school-age children and spending of $9 billion in public money. One board member has resigned due to a conflict of interest exposed by the project, and newspapers are calling for the resignation of another. We discovered a third member is a recipient of public education dollars and may be using them illegally. That story is in progress. We continue to receive letters to the editor and are told that complaints may have been filed with the state inspector general or ethics commission, neither of which will comment. The project also exposed a massive gap between board ideology on school choice and public/research opinion, leading to a larger examination of school choice in Ohio in 2014.
  • Public Salary project

    This entry consists of stories culled from a massive request for government compensation from hundreds of government agencies, cities, counties, school, college and special districts. This projects follows the money. The data is made public through data bases on our web sites and culled through by investigative reporter Thomas Peele, who roots out stories from deep in the data, including ones about secret pension boosting perks, officials paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for not working, government managers sitting on huge banks of unused vacation time to cash in at retirement, part-time elected officials who do little work while being paid hundreds of dollars and an hour, long forgotten politicians receiving free life-time government health insurance decades are leaving office. The project routinely ferrets out information about the spending of public money that not even those in charge of government agencies are aware of until Peele tells them: "Wow,” said James Fang, a member of the board of the BART transit district when informed data showed the agencies former general manager, who had resigned two years earlier in the midst if being fired, had remained in the agency's payroll for years, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars and jacking up her future pension. “She was still on the payroll? I did not know this. It’s startling.”
  • The battle for V.I. Senate spending records

    The Virgin Islands Daily News battled the Virgin Islands Senate via FOI requests, numerous stories and editorials, and we finally had to file a lawsuit against the legislative body – at a cost of more than $20,000 to our under-10,000 circulation newspaper – before winning access to thousands of records of the senators' spending. As a result, several senators chose not to run for reelection, several were not reelected and the rest have made loud and public pledges of total transparency. The newspaper's scrutiny and reporting on the misuse of public money – as revealed in the documents we obtained – is ongoing.