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 "watchdog" ...

  • Former NOAA official pushed policies that benefit his company

    This story took a look at the largest company that provides at-sea watchdogs to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It found that the president of the company was part of an influential group that helped convince the government to use catch shares, which require more watchdogs -- and thus more money for his company. It also found that the company has a grant to assess the success of catch shares, a potential conflict-of-interest when the company benefits from the program.
  • Exposing Waste, Fraud And Corruption

    The Better Government Association is a nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog that's been around for more than 90 years exposing waste, fraud and corruption in Chicago and throughout Illinois. The Illinois Freedom of Information Act is a key component of our work, not only for our investigations team, which regularly enlists FOIA to access and analyze public records, but also for the BGA's legal and policy units.
  • Hidden Errors

    An investigation into serious flaws in the nation's system for regulating common medical tests -- ones that harm patients and then hide the results from the public. http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/hidden-errors-360092411.html
  • Legislative Spending

    Both of the 2015 stories were part of an occasional series, “Watchdog Report: Legislative Spending,” that began in 2014. The series is based on an exclusive database created by The Morning Call to analyze legislators’ spending. Before that, taxpayers would have found it difficult to nearly impossible to find out how their representatives were spending their money. Legislators are not required to publicly reveal their individual expenses and the records are not uniform or easily digested http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/legislator-expense-reports/mc-pa-house-expense-map-htmlstory.html http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/legislator-expense-reports/mc-pa-senate-expense-map-htmlstory.html
  • Waste and Violence at Colorado Human Services

    Waste and Violence at Colorado Human Services is a broad investigation into the policies and practices that have led state officials to squander millions, increase benefits to people not qualified for the money and allow repeated attacks on staff and others at their facilities. Despite stalling and refusal to release some records, Watchdog.org went over road blocks, obtaining records from other agencies and sources, to tell the story. During four months, Watchdog.org found the state repeatedly violated federal law, changed policies to increase welfare benefits and made changes that endangered staff at its juvenile detention facilities.
  • The Clerk’s Files

    When Watchdog City began these stories as an outgrowth of beat reporting on county government, they had no idea it would lead to filing a lawsuit that successfully challenged high public records fees and produced a favorable ruling after a hard-fought trial in June 2014. With unlimited taxpayer funds at his disposal to spend on legal fees, the county’s elected auditor and accountant — the Clerk of Courts — has since appealed the circuit judge’s ruling in my favor. The case is now on its way to Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal.
  • Tracking Troubled Brokers

    In a broad investigation, the Journal revealed that Wall Street’s own national watchdog doesn’t make public all the regulatory red flags it has about brokers. The Journal dug up and analyzed the employment and disciplinary history of more than 550,000 of the nation’s stockbrokers. Reporters found a wide array of regulatory breakdowns. The Journal revealed that more than 1,500 people had violated rules requiring them to disclose criminal charges or bankruptcies to investors. Reporters also found more than 50,000 brokers had failed a key entrance exam – sometimes as many as a dozen times – and that those who repeatedly failed had worse disciplinary records. And the Journal identified 16 “hot spots” across the country where large numbers of troubled brokers congregate, often near elderly and wealthy investors – and showed how state securities regulators do little to target resources on these problem areas.
  • 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.
  • Veterans waiting to die

    Veterans are dying for lack of medical care while the Department of Veterans Affairs uses scheduling tricks and manipulated data to hide long delays. Unscrupulous VA administrators are rewarded for their deception with positive reviews and bonuses. For years the internal watchdog has looked the other way as whistleblowers who reported wrongdoing faced retaliation.
  • Private Schools

    More than 180 privately run schools in New Jersey promise to take on the severely disabled children that public schools can’t handle, giving them a special status in the Garden State's educational system. But these schools are also a $600 million industry funded by New Jersey taxpayers – an industry that is only loosely regulated by the state. After a two-month investigation, Star-Ledger reporter Christopher Baxter exposed what can happen when the state writes checks to private companies without closely watching what they do with the money. His reporting was a relentless indictment of the system, finding the private schools were able to spend taxpayer dollars in ways public schools could not. He uncovered nepotism among school staffs, executive pay far higher than public school superintendents, officials owning fancy cars, schools offering generous pension plans and questionable business deals between schools and companies owned by school officials. In one instance, Baxter discovered a classroom aide who was related one of the school’s directors was taking home a $94,000 salary – three times what others were paid – without even a bachelor’s degree.