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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "agencies" ...

  • Public Disservice

    This series examined Arizona government workers’ discrimination and harassment claims, and found that agencies rarely disciplined the accused despite allegations of egregious behavior, repeated offenses and substantial payout costs to taxpayers. http://www.publicdisservice.azcentral.com/
  • Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President, and the Rise of the Drone

    Objective Troy tells the story of the life and death of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American imam who denounced 9/11 and called for bridge-building between Muslims and the United States, only to leave the U.S., grow steadily more militant and join Al Qaeda in Yemen. He became the most effective recruiter for Al Qaeda in English; actively plotted to kill Americans, including by coaching the underwear bomber who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit in 2009; and finally became the first American citizen to be deliberately killed in a drone strike, on orders of President Obama in 2011. The book’s title comes from Awlaki’s code name on the government’s kill list: during a frantic 20-month manhunt that engaged all of the intelligence agencies, Awlaki was Objective Troy. Reported all over the United States and in Yemen, Objective Troy is the most detailed and best-documented account of the life of a central figure in the post-9/11 history of terrorism. Among the revelations in the book are: the first account of Awlaki’s embrace of fundamentalist Islam, while a freshman at Colorado State; the real reason that Awlaki left the United States, abandoning a promising career as a mainstream spokesman for American Muslims; an intelligence mistake in the hunt for Awlaki that led to the disastrous unintentional killing by drone of a popular Yemeni deputy governor; and Awlaki’s afterlife on the Internet, including more than 40,000 YouTube videos, now with the added authority of what his admirers see as martyrdom. The book gives the fullest account to date of President Obama’s embrace of the armed drone as a weapon against terrorism and how its performance has fallen short of the government’s claims.
  • Racial Profiling Whitewash

    This KXAN investigation uncovered state and local law enforcement agencies wrongly reporting the race of minority drivers during traffic stops. KXAN analyzed more than 16 million Texas Department of Public Safety traffic stop records and revealed the state law enforcement agency systematically under-reported the number of minorities, mostly Hispanics, stopped on Texas roads by state troopers. The investigation questioned the validity of DPS racial profiling reports and led to immediate statewide changes in the way Texas troopers conduct traffic stops and record racial profiling data. KXAN found the same problem in the Austin Police Department which prompted an immediate audit of APD's traffic stop data and race recording practices which found APD in violation of the Texas racial profiling law. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEG0q7WR1U
  • Private Risk

    In a year-long series, The Wall Street Journal exposed and analyzed the underbelly of Silicon Valley’s technology boom with powerful reporting that triggered action by federal regulators, the nation’s largest drugstore chain and major retailers. Among the many highlights was an expose of blood-testing firm Theranos Inc., detailing how the nation’s largest private health-care company hit technological snags—with employees filing complaints with regulatory agencies alleging the company concealed problems—as it performed millions of blood tests on patients. The articles selected here—from dozens of stories, infographics and videos in the Journal’s “Private Risk” series—also revealed how technology firms fudge their finances; how private tech shares are improperly traded in a shadowy market; and how millions of American own shares of private tech firms through their mutual funds with no idea about what they’re actually worth.
  • A Game of Chicken

    Over the course of a decade, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had not one, not two, not three, but four opportunities to warn the public about salmonella outbreaks involving Foster Farms chicken. Each time, they hemmed and hawed, worrying more about the threat of legal action from a corporate giant than about protecting consumers. Health reporter Lynne Terry was the first journalist in America to identify and write about this alarming trend. With reporters from Frontline, The Center for Investigative Reporting and the New York Times circling around the story, she beat them all with a stunning and illuminating examination of the failures of the USDA. In her year-long investigation, Terry set out to determine if the USDA’s notoriously slow handling of a major salmonella outbreak in 2013-2014 was an isolated case. It wasn’t. She reviewed thousands of pages of previously undisclosed documents dating back to 2003. What she found was disturbing: More than 1,000 people had rushed to their doctors with bouts of food poisoning. They had no idea what made them sick. But federal regulators did. Those same federal officials took virtually no steps to protect consumers from bad chicken. Health officials in Oregon and Washington had pushed vigorously for federal action, having identified clear and convincing evidence of problems. But the USDA wouldn’t budge. Terry’s meticulous reporting identified these themes: •USDA officials are afraid of lawsuits. The agency is so worried about being sued by companies that they’ve set an almost impossible bar for evidence, even rejecting samples of tainted chicken that state health agencies believed would help clinch their case. •Government inspectors are pressured to go easy on food processors. In one notable case, the USDA transferred an inspector after Foster Farms complained he wrote too many citations. •The USDA succumbed to further pressure from Foster Farms. After strong pushback from the company’s lawyers, the agency backed away from citing an unequivocal connection linking the company to a 2004 outbreak – even though the evidence pointed only to Foster Farms.
  • Problems and opportunities: Electronic access in Indiana

    "Problems and opportunities: Electronic access in Indiana" explored how Indiana's county-level government agencies complied with the Access to Public Records Act — the state's open records law. Reported and written by master's students at The Media School at Indiana University and published by the Indiana Coalition for Open Government, the project found nearly half of the 90 agencies sampled failed to respond to requests for public records. http://indianacog.org/icog-news/problems-and-opportunities-electronic-access-in-indiana/
  • The secret world of government debt collection

    CNNMoney’s report, The Secret World of Government Debt Collection, exposes an industry rife with political corruption, aggressive tactics and legal loopholes. In this world, forgotten tolls can snowball into hundreds of dollars in debt and unpaid speeding tickets can land people in jail. We found that thanks to legal exemptions, collectors working for government agencies typically don’t have to follow the main federal law that regulates the debt collection industry, and state consumer protection laws often don’t apply either. All of this opens the door for steep fees that other debt collectors couldn’t dream of charging, and allows them to threaten consequences as dire as arrest. The report focused on one of the industry’s biggest players, Texas-based law firm Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. Through our reporting, we uncovered this little-known firm’s massive influence and controversial political ties. For example, Linebarger spends more on state lobbying than Texas giants Exxon and Halliburton, and it pours millions of dollars into political campaigns. It even has current elected officials on its payroll and has become entangled in multiple bribery scandals. CNNMoney discovered it is also currently linked to an ongoing FBI investigation. But Linebarger continues to rake in lucrative government contracts, making its top executives and founders rich while the debtors it goes after are left scrambling to pay its steep fees. And because firms like Linebarger are powered by government agencies, consumers are left with little recourse.
  • Concealed Courts: The battle for judicial transparency

    This is an entry for the IRE FIO award. Concealed Courts is a series about how the state judicial branch exempted itself from state open records laws, refused to discuss policies and declined to provide records other government agencies have to release. In the process, I found judicial employees, including Supreme Court justices, moonlighting on state time, some departments releasing information others would not and a total lack of accountability from an agency that spends hundreds of million of tax dollars. In the end, the courts put forth a records policy but by that time my stories prompted the legislature to formulate a bill to be introduced in the 2016 session.
  • Children Abused: Deaths Ignored

    This is an ongoing investigation of egregious errors by Denver Human Services and other Colorado human services agencies that have contributed to multiple child deaths and injuries. The investigation has, so far, resulted in new state laws to protect children, the removal of the director of DHS, a statewide audit revealing lack of proper background checks for placement homes, the criminal prosecution of a caseworker for falsifying records, a state-mandated third party review of DHS and its supervision of caseworkers, appointment of a city wide task force to identify child abuse in schools, four separate investigations by the state child protection ombudsman, and the allocation of more than $3-million for new DHS caseworkers and supervisors.
  • COPSHOOT

    A Journal analysis of the latest data from 105 of the country’s largest police agencies found more than 550 police killings between 2007 and 2012 were missing from records kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or in a few dozen cases, not attributed to the agency involved in the killing. The Journal’s tally showed at least 1,800 police killings in those departments, about 45% more than the FBI’s tally for justifiable homicides in those jurisdictions. The Journal’s reporting shows that the full national scope of the underreporting of justifiable homicides wasn’t being quantified, as more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies are asked to provide such stats to the FBI.