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 "contributions" ...

  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • Postmedia: Follow the Money

    Follow the Money is a data journalism project conceived by reporter Zane Schwartz as part of a year-long Postmedia fellowship. “I was frustrated by the way donations to politicians are recorded,” says Schwartz. “We know money matters in politics, but figuring out who is consistently giving that money to candidates and parties requires a level of detective-work out of reach for the average voter.” To address this gap, Schwartz worked with a team of journalists at Postmedia to create an accessible search tool for contributions at both the federal level and in every province and territory — a first of its kind.
  • Michigan State University: Capital expenditure

    This project analyzed 2017 campaign finance data reported by Michigan state lawmakers. The initial intent was to determine how much of those funds came from special interest Political Action Committees rather than individual contributions. It blossomed into 10 stories that looked at such things as the difference in fundraising patterns between men and women, Republicans and Democrats. It ranked the partisanship of the state’s PACs, the largest PAC donors, the lawmakers who received the most and least, those who used the most of their own money and those who used no money at all. It discovered that the NRA spends very little on individual state lawmakers and those who break campaign finance laws rarely get hefty fines.
  • CBS: AmeriCorps Misconduct

    This CBS News Radio investigation probes allegations of widespread misconduct at the federally-funded AmeriCorps program. Part of the investigation details extensive sexual harassment allegations against the grandson of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Stephen Black, an Alabama attorney and founder of AmeriCorps grant recipient Impact Alabama. The report triggered Impact America to severe ties with Black, and the University of Alabama to launch a Title IX investigation before firing him as an instructor. It relied heavily on public records from FOIA requests, along with interviews with current and former Impact Alabama and AmeriCorp volunteers, lawmakers, and federal oversight officials.
  • Politics of Pain

    “Politics of Pain,” a multi-part investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and The Associated Press, examines the politics behind the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic, with a unique look at how drugmakers and their allies sought to block and delay legislation and thwart other steps intended to combat opioid abuse while pushing their own profitable but unproven remedies. Drug companies and allied advocates spent more than $880 million on lobbying and political contributions at the state and federal level over the past decade, more than eight times what the formidable gun lobby recorded for political activities during the same period. Using a network of paid allies, drugmakers also created an echo chamber that quietly derailed efforts to curb U.S. consumption of the drugs while pushing new, harder-to-abuse formulations of their products that have not been proven to reduce overdose rates.
  • Cash & the Court

    A reporter's curiosity about campaign contributions to judicial candidates from six law firms — five from outside Arkansas — leads to a 17 month-long investigation and results in revelations that raise questions about the impartiality of the state's Supreme Court. http://www.arkansasonline.com/cashandthecourt/
  • Campaign Contributions and the California State Board of Equalization

    Taxpayers with complex tax dispute cases before the State Board of Equalization were more likely to win their cases if they or their representatives made campaign contributions to the elected board members, either directly or through political action committees.
  • The Narco-Terror Trap

    This project traces the Drug Enforcement Administration’s use of a little-known statute of the Patriot Act to create a role for itself in the war on terror, based largely on unsubstantiated assertions that terrorists were using the drug trade to finance attacks against the United States. The statute, adopted with broad bi-partisan support, allows the D.E.A. to pursue so-called narco-terrorists anywhere in the world, even when none of their alleged crimes occurred on American soil. Between 2002 and 2008, the agency’s budget for foreign operations increased by some 75 percent, which supported expansions into Afghanistan, Eastern Europe, and West Africa. But an examination of the D.E.A.’s narco-terrorism cases reveals that most unraveled as they proceeded through court. The cases relied heavily on sting operations, and the only evidence of any links between terrorists and traffickers was concocted by the D.E.A., which used highly-paid informants to lure targets into staged narco-terrorism conspiracies. The first piece tells the story of three small-time smugglers from Mali who were arrested in West Africa, transported to New York and accused as narco-terrorists with links to Al-Qaeda. It explains how the D.E.A.’s narco-terrorism campaign began in the arrest-first-ask-questions-later period that followed 9/11. And it details the negligible contributions that the effort, whose total cost remains unknown, has made to keeping the country safe from either terrorists or drug traffickers. Nearly three years after the Malian’s arrest, a judge found that the men were not linked to Al-Qaeda, and that they had been motivated to participate in the D.E.A.’s fake conspiracy by an informant’s offer to pay them millions of dollars. The second piece uses an interactive comic – ProPublica’s first – to bring a sharper focus to the patterns in the DEA’s cases. It uses five different narco-terrorism operations in five different parts of the world. The interactivity of the comic allows readers to see how the agency’s stings use essentially the same script in order to make disparate targets fit the designated crime. https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/narco
  • Allentown FBI investigation

    On July 2, FBI agents raided Allentown City Hall, looking for documents connected with a host of businesses and other entities that received city contracts. It was clear that agents suspected a pay-to-play scheme had been in the works for several years. The first thing The Morning Call’s city hall reporter, Emily Opilo, did was cancel her plans for the Fourth of July holiday, since she knew this story needed her complete attention. For the next six months, Opilo – along with reporters Scott Kraus, Matt Assad and Paul Muschick – scrutinized each entity on the FBI’s subpoena list. Going contractor by contractor, they used the state’s Right-to-Know Law to gather bid sheets, requests for proposals, meeting notes and contracts. Using state and federal campaign finance reports, they matched each contractor against contributions made to Allentown’s mayor when he ran for re-election in 2013, for governor in 2014 and for U.S. Senate in 2015. In each case, contractors also were donors. Often, those that didn’t get contracts were found not to have donated to the mayor’s campaigns.