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 "whistleblower" ...

  • 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.
  • Just sign here: Federal workers max out at taxpayers' expense

    FMCS is a tiny independent federal agency whose director's first order of business was to use federal funds to buy artwork from his own wife, $200 coasters and champagne. The agency paid $85,000 to the phantom company of a just-retired official for no services; spent $50,000 at a jewelry store, supposedly on picture frames to give its 200 employees "tenure awards;" and leased its people $53,000 cars. Large portions of its employees routinely used government credit cards for clearly personal items after merely requesting to have them “unblocked” from restricted items, according to 50,000 pages of internal documents obtained by the Washington Examiner--raising questions about purchase card use in other agencies. Federal employees were charging cell phones for their whole families and cable TV at not just their homes, but their vacation homes too, to the government. Its IT director has had hundreds of thousands of dollars of high-end electronics delivered to his home in West Virginia, and there is no record of many of those items being tracked to federal offices. Many other items billed are highly suspect, such as $500 for single USB thumb drives that retail for $20. Virtually all of its spending circumvented federal procurement laws. When employees pointed out rulebreaking, Director George Cohen forced one accountant to write a letter to the GSA retracting her complaint, had another top employee walked out by armed guards, and fired another whistleblower, a disabled veteran, for missing a day of work while she laid in the ICU. At an agency the size of FMCS, where corruption went to the top, there were no higher levels to appeal to, no Inspector General, and--previously--no press attention.
  • Hanford Nuclear Whistleblowers

    CBS News introduced viewers to the most contaminated nuclear waste site in the Western Hemisphere: the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. We got unprecedented access to the site and interviewed whistleblowers who say the federal plans to clean up the site are dangerous, costly, and ultimately ineffective. The clean-up at Hanford is a financial black hole, with the Department of Energy pouring billions into a plan that is untested, while underground tanks holding decades-old nuclear waste are leaking into the soil.
  • Indian Drug Company Investigation

    The first part of our story profiled a whistleblower who exposed massive fraud at Ranbaxy, a multi-billion dollar Indian generic drug company that sold adulterated drugs to millions of Americans for years. The company sold these drugs to millions of Americans while lieing to the FDA claiming the drugs worked and could fight such life threatening illnesses like cancer, AIDS, diabetes and infections. The second part of our story revealed that despite the company’s claims, the company has ongoing serious manufacturing problems. In fact, just two weeks after CBS left a Ranbaxy plant in India, the FDA banned all finished drugs coming into the US from Ranbaxy. However, our story also revealed that while the FDA banned all finished drugs, the company is still continues to make the key ingredients for drugs sold to Americans today– including such popular drugs as Astra Zeneca’s Nexium. At the center of our story was the whistleblower, Dinesh Thakur, who had never done a television interview. The risks that Thakur took in exposing his company led to a massive federal false claims lawsuit that aided the federal criminal investigation and rewarded Thakur with $49 million. According to one federal agent who worked on the case for seven years, without Thakur “there would have been no investigation and no criminal conviction.” We were alarmed to find in our reporting that so many of the key players in the federal investigation had made personal decisions based on what they learned to never take a Ranbaxy drug. Three Justice Department attorneys, six former Ranbaxy employees, one former FDA criminal investigator and two Congressional investigators (Democrat and a Republican) all told CBS News that they would never take a Ranbaxy drug, nor would they allow a family member to do so. Each shared with us personal anecdotes of finding Ranbaxy drugs in family members’ medicine cabinets or receiving a prescription at a drug store only to tell the pharmacist that they must have a different brand. For this reason we felt strongly that it was important to notify our audience of the risks with this company. We also informed our audience that foreign drug makers are not subject to the same strong oversight that drug makers in the US face every day. For example, drug makers in the US face unannounced inspections. Despite efforts to beef up foreign FDA inspections, foreign companies are still notified in advance of upcoming inspections. In the US there is one FDA inspector for every 9 phamaceutical facilities. In India there is one FDA inspector for every 105 facilities. CBS News also tracked down half a dozen other former Ranbaxy employees who told CBS what they witnessed at the company both in the United States and in India. Two top employees went on camera to share their experiences.
  • Failing Heads

    An investigative series by online and local television affiliates into mounting complaints and evidence that a highway safety device produced by a Dallas-based company and sold in all 50 states and 60 countries was failing with catastrophic results, causing severe injuries, amputations and deaths on the highway that were otherwise avoidable. The investigation uncovered that not only did Trinity Industries, know from state officials, industry whistleblowers, and engineers that the device was prone to failing, they conspired with regulatory officials at the Federal Highway Administration to cover it up.
  • Under the Hood: The AAMCO Investigation

    AAMCO, the world’s largest transmission repair chain, pulled its multi-million dollar advertising campaign, retrained more than 700 franchise owners nationwide, conducted thousands of dollars in overdue repairs and now faces a class action lawsuit filed by its own franchisees all as a result of our year-long investigation.
  • The Magnitsky Affair

    The Magnitsky project uncovered how nearly a billion dollars that disappeared from the Russian treasury ended up in offshore accounts, paper companies and apartments in New York City to the benefit of two privileged Russians and their associates. The Russian government had maintain that tracing the lost money was impossible because important records had been lost in what they described as an accident. They never tried, but OCCRP reporters painstakingly combed through hard-to-obtain bank records, land records and other documents to trace the money as it was hidden, transferred and laundered. The project has sparked investigations in a handful of countries, won numerous journalism accolades and has kept alive the memory of Segei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer turned whistleblower who paid with his life for trying to expose the corrupt theft of tax money in Moscow.
  • California's Deloitte Dilemma: The Politics of Programming and Public Contracts. A KCRA Investigation

    When payments for California's unemployed were delayed after a computer upgrade, KCRA began digging into the cause of the delay. What reporter Sharokina Shams and producer Dave Manoucheri found was a state agency that was downplaying the problems with their new computer system and grossly under-reporting the number of people affected. Utilizing California Public Records Act requests (similar to FOIA) and whistleblowers inside the department, KCRA exposed the fact that California had purchased a computer system plagued with problems. Within a week they had determined that multiple states had hired the same company, Deloitte, LLC, and those states were experiencing similar problems. With more digging Shams and Manoucheri found that Deloitte had also donated hundreds of thousands to political campaigns and lobbied heavily with the state. KCRA found hundreds of millions paid to the company for IT contracts, failed previous projects and a new contract due to be awarded that would costs half a billion dollars. Ultimately, KCRA's investigation led to legislative hearings, the creation of legislation to change how the state writes IT contracts, and revealed that more than 40 states are waiting in the wings to upgrade their computer systems and the federal Department of Labor anticipates similar problems in all those states.
  • The Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal

    When Republicans, Democrats, and the media agree that a series of events occurred, it must be true, right? That was the situation Katherine Eban faced when she began investigating the Fast and Furious scandal. As portrayed by congressional Republicans and conceded by a Democratic U.S. attorney general, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives had allegedly adopted a disastrous policy of intentionally allowing weapons to be illegally trafficked to Mexican drug lords. Those allegations were the basis for a major congressional investigation and a national scandal. They ultimately led to the first instance in U.S. history in which a cabinet member, Attorney General Eric Holder, was deemed in contempt of Congress (because he refused to turn over documents relating to Fast and Furious). But Eban’s reporting in “The Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal” showed that, in fact, the ATF never had a policy to permit gun trafficking. Yes, weapons made their way to Mexico, but it occurred because of lax laws and prosecutors who interpreted those laws so strictly as to make gun seizures almost impossible. To uncover the truth, Eban combed through 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven agents involved in the case. In six months of exhaustive investigation, Eban persuaded the ATF agents at the heart of the case—including the leader of the team at issue, who had never spoken to the press before—to give their accounts. She then crafted a riveting narrative that exposed the hypocrisy of the political maneuverings around the business of selling and using guns. Most important, the article explained exactly why our system fails to stop weapons from being trafficked. Befitting the charged subject, Fortune’s article provoked an unprecedented wave of response on its website, national media attention, considerable fury from gun advocates—the FBI investigated threats made to Eban after the article appeared—and angry objections from figures who came in for criticism in the story. Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, both leading figures in the congressional investigation, devoted a 49-page appendix to a congressional report, with an additional 140 pages of allegedly supporting documents, to try to rebut the story. And an ostensible ATF whistleblower whose allegations were challenged by Eban’s reporting filed suit against Fortune’s publisher. In the end, the best stories—and the ones that contradict a universally held view—often stir up the most anger.
  • Hidden Behind the Badge

    For more than a decade, the New Jersey State Police had to answer to a federal monitor after admissions the force engaged in racial profiling on state highways in the late 1990s. That oversight ended in 2009, but "Hidden Behind the Badge," a yearlong investigation by The Star-Ledger’s Christopher Baxter, showed many of the State Police’s bad habits remain. In a remarkable run of reporting throughout 2012, Baxter exposed actions by troopers that shocked the public, drew national attention, prompted unprecedented shakeups of top brass and spurred new state investigations, suspensions, criminal charges and legislation. He also got the attention of New Jersey’s most powerful political leaders by digging into how the State Police operates, showing whistleblowers fear career-killing reprisals for speaking up, proving the promotion system is more subjective than nearly any other in the country and raising questions about training to recognize diabetic shock.