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.
  • Drilling Down: Big Oil’s Bidding

    When the government awards energy companies the rights to drill for offshore oil and gas, it’s supposed to make sure the American public, which owns the resources, doesn’t get screwed. The government is required by law to use “competitive bidding” and to ensure that taxpayers receive “fair market value.” However, decades of data suggest that the government has been falling down on the job, a Project On Government Oversight analysis found. Among POGO’s discoveries: Instead of taking the trouble to estimate the value of individual offshore tracts, the government has simply labeled many of them worthless and has awarded drilling rights on that basis. Energy companies have invested billions of dollars in tracts the Interior Department categorized as “non-viable”—in other words, worthless. Over the past 20 years, more than two-thirds of the leases that ultimately became energy-producing had been deemed worthless by the Interior Department.
  • VPR: Watch Your Speed

    Law enforcement in Vermont issued more than 24,000 tickets worth upwards of $4 million in fines to drivers in 2017. A quarter were issued in three small towns. This investigation revealed how one county sheriff has profited from his traffic contracts with two of the towns. It also showed how issuing traffic tickets allowed another town to maintain an unusually low tax rate.
  • How a donkey became one of the best mayors in Brazil

    The report revealed an industry of awards for politicians in Brazil. The certificates are granted against sums of money paid cash, usually upon a fake opinion poll in which these politicians are supposedly recognized by the population.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The Robots Are Now Hiring

    Hiring is undergoing a profound revolution. Since skills have a shorter and shorter shelf life, companies are moving away from assessing candidates based on their resumes and skills, towards making hiring decisions based on people’s personalities.
  • UA president attempts takeover of for-profit chain ITT Tech

    After nearly a year of reporting on University of Akron President Scott Scarborough, The Devil Strip learned he was negotiating with a for-profit education company for what they suspected was a curriculum deal. Instead, they discovered that company was brokering a deal for the university to take over ITT Tech. The small paper broke this story, which was echoed by several outlets who were shut out of the university. They, meanwhile, had Scarborough on the phone admitting to the negotiations. While the school locked down the information, Sen. Dick Durbin referenced their reporting in an address to President Obama, promising to keep an eye on UA. Soon afterwards, the university abandoned the efforts, Scarborough was removed from office and ITT Tech closed all its campuses.
  • Free to Flee

    In Florida, drunk drivers are routinely not arrested immediately after they cause a fatal crash, even when there’s sufficient probable cause to arrest them. In many cases, the drivers remain free as the investigations drag on for many months, well beyond accepted standards. Our investigation found that dozens of drunk drivers have escaped justice and hundreds more were left on the streets for years before being arrested and convicted, with some committing other crimes while they enjoyed their freedom.
  • Bernie Effect

    While Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic nomination was unsuccessful, did it live on by changing the issues that Hillary Clinton talked about and how she talked about them? Fusion used linguistic analysis to quantify each candidate’s voice on social media. This model accurately reflected the differences among the candidates, and we found no trend in Clinton’s language towards that of Sanders.
  • Almighty

    A riveting, chilling tale of how a group of ragtag activists infiltrated one of the most secure nuclear-weapons sites in the United States, told alongside a broader history of America's nuclear stewardship, from the early stages of the Manhattan Project to our country's never-ending investment in nuclear weaponry.
  • Doctors & Sex Abuse

    Across the United States, sexual abuse of patients by doctors occurs far more often than has been known by the public or acknowledged by the medical profession, according to an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Regulators have a strong bias to forgive even doctors with egregious violations and return them to practice. The abuse is shrouded in secrecy and accountability is crippled by a poor framework of laws that does not put patient protection at the forefront. In a multi-part series that began July 7 and continues through the end of the year, The AJC revealed a broken culture that echoes scandals in the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts. Because of this broken culture, the medical profession is not addressing the victimization of patients, mostly female, by a powerful and esteemed group of men who, in any other walk of life, would likely lose their jobs and possibly be jailed. http://doctors.ajc.com/table_of_contents/ http://doctors.ajc.com/video_doctors_sex_abuse/ http://doctors.ajc.com/video_sex_abuse_story_details http://doctors.ajc.com/states/minnesota_sex_abuse/