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 "taxpayer 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.
  • Pain & Profit

    Pain & Profit revealed the terrible consequences of Texas officials' decision to turn over medical care for the state's sickest and most vulnerable citizens to for-profit health care companies. Foster children were denied critical nursing, disabled adults suffered without adequate treatment, and severely sick children lost access to their doctors -- all while companies received billions of dollars of taxpayer money. The state failed to oversee the corporations it hired; when it was told of problems, it covered them up. Our investigation into what's know as Medicaid managed care, which highlights a national problem, has already led to major changes in Texas.
  • State Police Troopers, Supervisors Charged in Overtime Scandal

    Dozens of respected members of the Massachusetts State Police are suspended, so far ten have been criminally charged, and the investigations by federal and state prosecutors are continuing with more arrests expected in 2019. All of this is the result of a massive overtime scheme that was uncovered by 5 Investigates, the investigative team at WCVB in Boston. This is a precedent setting scandal that has unfolded in Massachusetts since our initial investigation. The work of 5 Investigates began in 2017 with dozens of public records requests and our first story in October that revealed supervisors and troopers who appeared to be earning thousands of dollars in overtime they never worked. By early 2018, we began to see significant developments -- suspensions, arrests for theft of taxpayer money, and a response from the Governor that resulted in some of the largest reforms within the State Police that Massachusetts has ever seen.
  • Amarillo Economic Development Corporation Travel Expenses

    This series looks at travel expenses from the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) during a three-year period. The AEDC is mostly funded with taxpayer money with the Amarillo city council approving the almost $2 million operating budget. The findings include luxury hotel expenses, purchases of alcohol, meals at high-end restaurants, late check-out fees and rounds of golf. Some receipts were hand-written, unreadable or not itemized. There is little to no oversight of these expenses either by the organization or the city. The AEDC has no “written” policies on travel and the president approves his own expenses. Many of the meals, trips and rounds of golf are considered an investment, but there is no record of who attended because the AEDC says the deals are confidential. The organization has existed for 26 years but has brought in 34 businesses during that time to Amarillo.
  • Legislative Spending

    The Morning Call created Pennsylvania’s first-ever map-based online database that sheds a light on how the state’s 253 lawmakers spent at least $13.8 million in taxpayer money in 2013. The result of The Morning Call’s efforts, Watchdog Report: Legislative Spending, published in three stories and accompanied by online maps and records, is nothing short of a virtual audit. It is the only place taxpayers – and lawmakers themselves -- can go to see how 203 representatives and 50 senators spent money because the Legislature has never done a similar in-depth audit. The stories and database allows users to compare how much lawmakers spent on anything they want, from office rents to meals to hotels to a private consultant who promoted a lawmaker’s acting gig. With such leeway and latitude, it’s easy to see why the Legislature wants to keep spending records from the public eye.
  • New Scrutiny of City's Library Trustees

    The city's libraries play an increasingly important role in the lives of immigrant, low-income and young New Yorkers. This story looks into the unique way New York's three library systems are run: with hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money overseen by private boards of wealthy people with limited expertise and potential conflicts subject to little transparency or accountability.
  • Payday California

    After California taxpayers discovered the tiny town of Bell had been paying enormous and illegal salaries to officials there, many people asked: How did we miss this for so long? That’s when The Center for Investigative Reporting set out to create the most comprehensive database in the country of local government salaries. Although these salaries are public records, most taxpayers know little about whether the paychecks for city and county officials are fair. No statewide standards govern how local pay is set, leaving the public in the dark about whether their city managers, for example, are paid appropriately for the job and the community. With Payday California, CIR skillfully put into context the $40 billion a year that California cities and counties spend on their employees.
  • State of Charter Schools

    With FOIA requests, scores of interviews and school visits, reviews of thousands of documents and a deep analysis of academic data, the Detroit Free press revealed a $1-billion-a-year charter school system with weak state oversight. The result? Little transparency on how taxpayer money is spent, conflicts of interest often unchecked, some school operators lining their pockets, failing schools staying open year after year – and many children not getting the quality education that charter advocates envisioned 20 years ago. Our reporting showed Michigan has twice as many for-profit companies running schools than any other state, with weak accountability requirements that companies find attractive.
  • Councilman Sexting Scandal

    An extensive seven-month 41 Action News investigation scrutinized the suspicious details surrounding $15,000 of Kansas City taxpayer money. At the center of the controversy: a city councilman and married pastor who had requested the funds. The money was supposed to pay for a speaking appearance by world-famous boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. However, that event never occurred. Despite demands from City Hall, the organizers never repaid the money. And as the 41 Action News digging continued, the story kept unraveling. The investigation culminated with an exclusive interview featuring a woman who was convinced the councilman used the taxpayer money to help keep a sexting scandal out of the public spotlight.
  • NC superintendents’ contracts packed with perks

    I requested the contracts of all 115 public school superintendents in North Carolina and found that their six-figure salaries aren’t the only way they are compensated. Many receive thousands of dollars in bonuses each year, and some get special perks, such as cars, gym memberships, money for mortgage payments and extra vacation time. The contracts also revealed the lengths school boards were willing to go to get or keep a superintendent, including one school system that agreed to provide its new leader with a house and install a nearly $4,300 fence for her dogs – paid for with taxpayer money.