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 "patronage" ...

  • Newsday Investigation: Pathway to Power

    In a panoramic, 30,000-word narrative, reporters exposed the underpinnings of Long Island’s corrupt political system through the life of a onetime street hoodlum who would eventually own a castle-like estate that became the Island’s unofficial political clubhouse and the site of a startling attempt on his life. Drilling deep below decades of numbing public scandals, the project is the defining document of how local power works on Long Island, how the public gets exploited and why unscrupulous operators persistently prevail.
  • Judicial appointment loophole sparks debate over NY constitution

    This story reveals a longtime but little-known practice of governors using a law to create one of their biggest, six-figure patronage mills to appoint appoint judges to critical courts that the constitution says are to be be presided over by elected judges.
  • Daily Herald: Illinois tollway series

    The Illinois tollway, governed by a nonelected board of political appointees, is the only option to get around the Chicago region for millions of drivers who spend $1.3 billion annually to use the system. While hardworking customers paid tolls, tollway executives and board directors were quietly hiring political insiders for high-paying jobs, handing lucrative contracts to firms where their relatives worked, and weakening bylaws to water down the tollway board’s conflict-of-interest rules. As the Daily Herald exposed nepotism, patronage and excessive spending at the tollway, the agency’s leaders fought back. Tactics included denying FOIAs, concealing information and accusing the newspaper of harassment. The Daily Herald’s investigation caught the attention of other media, two governors and state lawmakers who ultimately fired the tollway board of directors in early 2019. Legislators credited the Herald’s investigative series with alerting the public about what Gov. J.B. Pritzker referred to “unethical behavior.”
  • Concealing County Corruption: Anatomy of a Cover-Up

    Wayne Dolcefino saves the best for last. In his final investigation for KTRK-TV, he and the 13 Undercover Unit demonstrated relentless persistence as they attempted to shake up a county government with an abysmal record of policing itself. This submission begins with four reports detailing shocking evidence of corruption inside the downtown precinct of Constable Jack Abercia. 13 Undercover spent several months doing painstaking surveillance -- catching the Constable’s deputies running his personal errands, working extra jobs on the clock and stockpiling never driven county patrol cars while lawmen were being laid off. 13 Undercover then managed to get a hidden camera inside the chief deputy’s office as he and two deputies talked openly about corruption inside the precinct. The language is often foul mouthed and always revealing. The FBI nabbed Aberica and two top commanders in a bribery sting weeks later. The veteran former constable is now awaiting trial. Eventually, 13 Undercover turned our cameras on county leaders to say “enough is enough.” Not only was action not forthcoming, it quickly became clear that many in positions of power wanted this all to go away without getting their hands dirty, without ending decades of a patronage system that made deputies feel required to give money to their boss’s campaigns and charities to keep their jobs. That was not an option. This investigation demanded accountability and we held leaders to the promises they made to the public. In late summer, 13 Undercover scored a major public records victory that revealed what one commentator dubbed "a cover-up of Nixonian proportions." The series culminated with the long awaited, and previously unimaginable, indictment of one of the county’s most popular elected officials – precinct 6 Constable Victor Trevino. New county directives now prohibit constables from soliciting money from their deputies and legislation is expected to filed in Austin to protect county employees from further shakedowns.
  • Keeping Secrets

    This series exposed the financial and public safety costs of North Carolina's personnel law, which we discovered was among the most secretive in the nation. The series showed how the law protected abusive cops and predatory teachers, political patronage and nepotism, as well as extravagantly pay raises and pensions.
  • "An Agency where Patronage is Job One - A Boston Globe Spotlight Team"

    The Spotlight Team looked into rumors that the Massachusetts Probation Department was a "political patronage machine." The team revealed that at least 250 employees had political or personal connections to "state legislators or judges," including the commissioner.
  • Buying off the Boss

    Employees in Illinois are found to give political contributions to candidates that may be their future employer.
  • Demoted to Private: America's Military Housing Disaster

    Political patronage, the zeal to privatize and a failure at background checks led to a disaster for taxpayers and military families in Pentagon housing programs in six states. All three branches of the service gave 8,000 military houses and billion-dollar contracts to a company headed by a politically-connected Texan involved in a messy bankruptcy and a Connecticut property management firm that had been previously suspended from HUD housing projects because it diverted millions to its own uses.
  • Politics' Role in Selecting Judges Condemned, Defended

    "Virginia remains the only state in the nation in which the legislature - specifically the majority party - wields all the power in the judicial selection process." Because of this, patronage is a problem, as judges have been appointed to positions after making "hefty campaign contributions to the legislators who picked them."
  • The Jobs Game

    "This series of articles by the AP showed that, despite his 2002 election on a "reform and renewal" platform in which he pledged to "end business as usual," Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration continued some of the old-style practices of patronage- and might have violated the law in the process."