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 "contracts" ...

  • Sex Offender Program

    The stories spotlighted a little-known state agency and civil commitment program that purported to be a treatment program for convicted sex offenders, revealing questionable and abusive practices and raising questions about its constitutionality. In addition to uncovering the details of questionable contracts, the stories revealed a systemic and ongoing failure by state officials to conduct the civil commitment program in accordance with state law, best practices, and its overall constitutionality. Unlike civil commitment programs in other states, Texas’ program effectively operated as an additional criminal punishment for some of society’s least sympathetic offenders, forcing them into a purported treatment and educational program no one has successfully completed in its 15-year history. The stories have sparked a nearly completed housecleaning of the Office of Violent Sex Offender Management leadership and plans for a revamp of the entire program. The state district judge who oversees most of the court cases involving the civil commitment program also is the subject of an investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. In addition to a series of investigations and a state audit underway, legislators have called for an overhaul of the program and may revisit the original authorizing law.
  • Fixed Fortunes

    In the era of billion-dollar presidential campaigns and political groups that can raise donations in unlimited amounts from almost any source, we are used to reading stories about the large amounts of money that special interests invest in politics. But what do they get out of the government they spend so much trying to influence by supporting political campaigns and parties or hiring well-connected lobbyists? Bill Allison and Sarah Harkins set out to answer that question, compiling huge amounts of data from multiple federal sources, identifying the biggest corporate political donors over a six year period, and then compiling numbers on the various federal support -- contracts, grants, loans, loan guarantees and various programs adopted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis -- to attempt to show what the biggest donors get from the federal government.
  • Inmates making insiders wealthy

    Privately owned and operated work-release programs are a new fad in corrections. Work-release programs tend to reduce recidivism rates and inmates are able to save some money while in prison so they don’t re-enter the real world penniless. Privately run programs, according to proponents, are superior to those run by public entities, because private operators take a percentage of inmate wages and are thus incentivized to find the best possible jobs for inmates. However, as The Advocate’s stories have shown, the private companies that get this work tend to be politically connected, and they don’t have any real incentive to provide quality housing or food or to prevent escapes. They chronicled problems with escapes, drug use and even death at one outfit run by friends of the sheriff of St. Tammany Parish, a New Orleans suburb. That facility was shut down after our reporting (which the sheriff called “reckless”). As another direct result of their investigation, the state secretary of the Department of Corrections announced that in the future, work-release programs would only get contracts after undergoing a competitive process.
  • DC Council Contracts

    Lawmakers in the District of Columbia routinely approved lucrative city contracts for businesses that made hefty campaign contributions at the time of the contract vote. That was one of the most eye-opening findings of a months-long investigation by WAMU and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University. It’s a power unique among state legislatures in the country; every contract worth a million dollars or more must be approved by the 13-member council. There was little oversight of this process until reporter Patrick Madden and students from the Workshop started delving into these contracts. The team analyzed nearly a decade worth of public records — and over 100,000 campaign contributions — to find out which companies were winning contracts and how much campaign cash they gave to the council members approving their contracts.
  • Oheka Castle Shooting

    When Gary Melius was shot in the head in a botched assassination attempt on the grounds of the massive castle he calls home, the mysterious event led to a Newsday examination of the politically-connected real estate developer’s many business dealings. Using public records and on- and off-the-record sources, reporters in the weeks to come uncovered a labyrinth of intrigue surrounding one company in particular: Interceptor Ignition Interlocks, which produced devices designed to curtail drunk driving and had won lucrative government contracts. The series of stories immediately following the assassination attempt captured the attention of all of Long Island by revealing complex, meaningful and news-breaking exposés concerning Long Island’s power brokers and public officials.
  • Investigation of a Community Health Center

    With an infusion of $11 billion, the 1,300 community health centers across the U.S. have been hailed as the backbone of the Affordable Care Act’s plan to leave no one without health care. That’s a lot of money to accomplish a lot of good. It’s also a lot of money to tempt those with larcenous intent. Two years ago, Alabama Media Group discovered that two community health centers -- Birmingham Health Care and Central Alabama Comprehensive Health -- had paid more than $2 million for contracts to companies owned by the centers’ CEO. Now there are indictments and allegations of $14 million in federal funds being diverted to private hands.
  • Payday Nation

    A new money­making venture is on the rise among American Indian tribes, especially in isolated parts of the country: online payday lending. About 3 million Americans take out an online payday loan every year. These are small loans with extremely high interest rates—typically 400% annually—and borrowers are mainly those who can’t get loans elsewhere because of bad credit histories. Many states have outlawed or limited the practice, citing exorbitant interest rates and often deceptive contracts.
  • Prison Problems

    AL.com spent 2014 digging into Alabama's prison problems, interviewing hundreds of people involved in the system, poring through medical contracts and salaries and discipline records and staffing reports and lawsuits and internal investigative files and much more. They began by announcing what we were going to do. Then they began reporting, occasionally sharing process updates on records requests and reporting milestones. At times they asked readers what they wanted to know, who they wanted to hear from, what they thought of official responses. AL.com solicited reader experiences inside prisons and received hundreds of responses to build a database of potential sources and continued with classic reporting, speaking to all sides, examining records, finding out what went wrong, who was profiting, finding prison doctors who lost licenses for sleeping with patients, wardens who were promoted after beating inmates.
  • Techsploitation

    Techsploitation was a yearlong investigation by The Center for Investigative Reporting that examined conditions facing foreign workers lured to the U.S. to service the back end of America’s IT infrastructure. CIR’s investigation produced multiple text stories, as well as a television investigative report, and a graphic novel-style profile of a worker trapped in his job. The stories examined the ways employers wielded extraordinary control over temporary immigrant tech workers in a system one called an “ecosystem of fear.” The investigation focused on two main areas: How labor brokers providing Indian high-tech workers to American companies gamed a professional visa program, creating a shadow world that can turn a worker’s dream of self-betterment into a financial nightmare and how porous federal oversight has allowed even labor brokers caught abusing workers to continue to thrive, even obtain federal IT contracts.
  • The Fenimore Fumes

    A series of reports, aired over a period of months, exposed serious problems related to a redevelopment project at the Fenimore Landfill, resulting in a state takeover and a new law changing how remediation projects are handled in the future. The investigation found that dangerous fumes were being released, putting thousands of residents at risk; that the project may not have been necessary; that new homes were built adjacent to a leaking toxic site without proper disclosures to buyers; that the project was entrusted to a convicted felon (contrary to state law) who had bribed public officials in a project; and that the entire project was based on illegal contracts as the man who signed them claiming to be the developer owned neither the property not the development company.