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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  • North Bay Bohemian: Sonoma Trifecta

    The three interlocking stories uncovered a real estate investor-banking-media network that illuminates the shape of Sonoma County’s “shadow” government. A development partnership angling for a county contract includes a county official who partners with a banker who flaunts ethics regulations in a fire disaster rebuild area. An owner of a major local newspaper is a board member of the bank which receives favorable press coverage in the newspaper for its fire deals that do not disclose the ownership connection. Another owner of the newspaper, a real estate investor and political consultant, is found to have defrauded a local Indian tribe in a real estate deal and in cahoots with the son of a U.S. Senator. As we go to press, the newspaper fails to report on the fraud when confronted with the relevant court documents, publishing only a 900 word story on a “dispute” that our 3,500 story unveils as fraud and breach of contract. The need for surviving alt-weeklies to keep publishing hard-hitting LOCAL investigative journalism is reaffirmed.
  • Alabama Media Group: Dirty Business

    In 2017, federal prosecutors charged Balch & Bingham lawyer Joel Gilbert and Drummond vice president David Roberson with bribing state Rep. Oliver Robinson to help them fight the EPA. However, as Whitmire revealed, their astroturfing scheme went much further, involving public officials from a school superintendent to U.S. senators. When Whitmire requested records from the Alabama Attorney General's Office showing Luther Strange's role in the scheme, the office denied those records existed. Whitmire proved, not once but twice, that officials there were lying, and that Strange had put his name on Gilbert's work product to persuade the EPA not to help poor residents in north Birmingham clean their soil of toxins. Further, Whitmire showed a small local school district had agreed to help resist the EPA, too, denying EPA access to test schoolyards for toxins.
  • Rape Victim Jailed: Jenny's Story

    A mentally ill rape victim who had a breakdown on the witness stand while testifying against her attacker was thrown in jail by the Harris County District Attorney's Office for nearly a month. Prosecutors worried she would not return weeks later to complete her testimony. The prosecutor’s conduct and the abuse the rape victim was subjected to in jail was exposed by the reporters. The reporters exposed a series of mistakes by jail staff that further victimized the woman. The outrage and fallout from their reporting quickly became the central campaign issue in the race for Harris County District Attorney between incumbent Devon Anderson and challenger Kim Ogg. On election night, Ogg defeated Anderson by a 7 point margin and cited the “Jenny” story as the defining issue of the campaign in her acceptance speech. Ogg fired the prosecutor who handled the case and started a new sex crimes unit to protect victims and witnesses. State senators on both sides of the aisle filed new legislation for the 2017 session to mandate legal representation for witnesses held on bonds for their testimony, a statewide solution to the problem the reporters exposed.
  • A False Diamond: Reverse Mortgage Series Leads to Statewide Reform

    This series exposed the reverse mortgage/home repair scam Chicago businessman Mark Diamond had perpetrated for decades against elderly black homeowners on the city’s South and West Sides. The project also revealed the civil justice system’s toothlessness and raised pointed questions about how much havoc one person can wreak in the civil sphere before facing any criminal consequences. The project sparked a hearing by a state senator, media pickup, the filing and passage of state legislation and community action.
  • The Death of Linwood Lambert

    MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber’s exhaustive investigation into the death of a Virginia man in police custody. Linwood "Ray" Lambert died three years ago, after police took him to a local hospital for medical care. But police never brought Lambert inside, instead tasing him repeatedly at the doorway to the hospital, and later inside a squad car. In September, Melber obtained 80 minutes of security camera footage. Melber led a months-long investigation, combing through the video to reconstruct the incident, obtaining previously unreleased police, medical and investigative files, and interviewing dozens of sources. The material gave MSNBC an opportunity to tell the story of that deadly night for the first time. State investigators and local prosecutors provided Melber some of their first public comments on the incident. Melber’s work also spurred outcry from officials and civil rights leaders, including calls for a resolution to the case by Virginia’s governor, and both U.S. Senators from Virginia.
  • Missing Airport ID’s

    This investigation revealed hundreds of airport ID’s have been lost or stolen at some of the nation’s busiest airports. Some missing badges were not deactivated for days or weeks because employees or companies failed to notify airport police. Those badges allow workers to bypass security screening and access the most secure areas unchecked. As a result of our reports, a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators has introduced a bill that directs the TSA to increase fines for airports, airport workers and employers who fail to report badges lost or stolen right away. And it requires all large U.S. airports to notify Congress if more than 3% of an airport’s ID’s are missing. Our reporting also prompted the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to launch an ongoing review of lost and stolen ID’s. Our team produced and reported the story for NBC Nightly News and the TODAY Show, bringing our findings to a national audience.
  • Public Corruption in Nassau County

    A federal investigation into New York State Senator Dean Skelos and his son’s job with a firm that had a contract with Nassau County raised the prospect that additional problems with the county contracting process had escaped federal attention. Newsday assigned four reporters to determine whether the expenditure of tax dollars had been corrupted, and over the course of the year, the newspaper published parallel investigations that have led to local and federal investigations, an impact on local elections and important questions about how the county’s top officials conduct public business.
  • The Wolves of Jefferson City

    Kansas City Star reporters proved that the speaker of the Missouri House had an ongoing, sexually charged relationship with a 19‐year‐old intern; that a state senator had a habit of harassing interns; and that women in the Capitol routinely suffered predatory treatment from a statehouse culture born out of an earlier, uglier era. Their stories led to resignations of the speaker and state senator, and reform within the legislature.
  • The Injustice System: Cops, Courts and Greedy Politicians

    Our primary entry is an hour-long, commercial free documentary that exposes the role police, municipal courts and politicians play in a revenue-driven system of law enforcement in St. Louis County. KMOV’s investigation was sparked by issues revealed following the protests and riots in Ferguson, MO. News 4 Investigates repeatedly documented the abuses that are prompting major reforms in local police departments and courts. The documentary is part of a major ongoing investigation that includes more than 40 stories revealing misconduct, incompetence, racism and greed in policing and the courts. KMOV’s investigation prompted the Bellefontaine Neighbors police department to end its ticket quota system. It also forced the resignation of a judge, the termination of a police officer, and following our report on the Bellefontaine Neighbors PD, city officials met with representatives from the United States Department of Justice for a series of community meetings focusing on policing practices. Our stories were played during those meetings. KMOV’s reports were also played by state senators during sessions of the Missouri state legislature and cited as part of the evidence documenting the need for reform.
  • Serving in Silence: Rape in the National Guard

    The National Guard has consistently claimed it is working “aggressively” to combat rape and sexual assault within its ranks. But in a groundbreaking series of reports, WRC-TV’s seven-part series “Serving in Silence: Rape in the National Guard” exposes how this major component of the military hasn’t been tracking critical data, allowing most of the men who committed the crime to walk free, while destroying the careers of those who were assaulted through retaliation. In the last few years, there have been many stories about sexual assault in the military. But no one, not even Congress, has been able to get real nationwide data on how those crimes are investigated and how they punish offenders. Which is why, after interviewing the highest-ranking women in the National Guard to speak publicly about their assaults, NBC4 broke rank and sent a survey to every Guard unit in the nation asking them how they tackle the problem, what resources they wish they had and what punishments they use. We ultimately created what is now the only public, nationwide source of hard data on military sexual assault investigations and their outcomes, prompting New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand to tell us, “We didn’t even have the basic information. Your survey is the first slice of information we actually have,” for the entire military. “It really shines a light on a huge issue that we don't have the level of transparency and accountability that we need on these serious criminal cases in the National Guard."