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 "politicians" ...

  • Sins of the Family

    Arizona is a state not that far removed from the frontier. It is a place to which someone can move and establish themselves anew, a place where a boy can come for college, make a fortune in business, enter politics, and be elected governor, without having to talk about his past. In Doug Ducey's case, it was as if his life began when he first signed up for classes at Arizona State University. Ducey, the Republican who became Arizona governor in November, talked continually during his campaign about his Midwestern family values, but even under questioning, only provided scant details about his upbringing. The Toledo-reared Arizona state treasurer at the time never talked about his family, except to say his father was a police officer and his mother was a homemaker back home. In their report, headlined "Sins of the Family," Phoenix New Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting discovered that Ducey's maternal relatives made up a powerful, organized-crime family in Toledo, Ohio, some having served prison time for their crimes. Indeed, his uncle has fled to a Caribbean island to escape prosecution. To this day, Ducey has not talked about his maternal family's criminal endeavors, though his reluctant campaign confirmed the facts of New Times and CIR's report after it was published. The report established that his convicted maternal grandparents played a big role in his upbringing. While running for governor, he said repeatedly that they taught him the meaning of family. This is a story of obfuscation by a political candidate, who claimed that everything about him was transparent, not of political corruption, since no evidence was uncovered that candidate Ducey benefited financially from the family business.
  • Data Center Dud

    This report uncovered the story behind a $1 billion data-center proposal at Rowan University in New Jersey that officials rejected before the public learned of it. The Rowan project failed in 2011, and the reasons why later became relevant in Delaware, where the state's largest university was weighing a nearly identical plan from the same developers -- complete with a 279-megawatt, gas-fired power plant, and backed by top Delaware politicians and $7.5 million in public funds.
  • The Insider

    Swedish Radio revealed that the company Ericsson had paid over 10 million Euros in commissions to a decoy with a secret role in a huge arms deal. The payments were hidden by shell-companies in Africa and Monte Carlo and were destined for Greek politicians, military officers and senior officials. In the documentary a former employee of Ericsson emerged and for the first time spoke out about the company's bribes and dirty methods.
  • Gun Wars: A News21 Investigation of Rights and Regulations in America

    An examination of the contentious political and cultural divide between those who say the right to own and carry guns is guaranteed by the Second Amendment and those who believe firearms should be more regulated. The project used or created nine databases to assess gun laws in every state in the nation and to document violence involving firearms across the United States. We also conducted hundreds of interviews across the country with longtime politicians, shooting victims, militia members, rural sheriffs, hunting enthusiasts, inner-city mothers and advocacy groups on all sides of the debate, to name a few.
  • Courting Favor

    All-out lobbying has spread from legislative chambers into the state attorney general’s office all across the land. Too many of those who call themselves “the people’s lawyers” turn out to be another tribe of elected politicians to be catered to. Eric Lipton, a reporter for The New York Times, captured the lobbyists at work in a nine-month investigation that accomplished what no journalist had ever succeeded in doing: showing in irrefutable detail how corporations sway and co-opt the very state officials elected to protect consumers and individual citizens.
  • Louisiana Purchased

    “Louisiana Purchased” -- the most comprehensive investigation into the big business of the state’s campaign financing in the history of Louisiana -- exposed illegal activities, questionable practices and toothless ethics enforcement, and as a direct result of the series, politicians admitted they broke the law and many made restitution, legislators changed state laws, a local district attorney stepped down after three decades in office, and both state and federal agencies launched separate investigations.
  • The Congressman, the Safari King, and the Woman Who Tried to Look Like a Cat

    The specific focus of this series was the International Conservation Caucus Foundation and the lawmakers, polluting corporations, and environmental groups who benefit from it. The political genius of the foundation is that it has allowed ICCF member companies such as ExxonMobil to greenwash their reputations by funding ICCF member nonprofits, such as the Nature Conservancy. Meanwhile, corporate and nonprofit contributions to the foundation paid for "educational" lunches, dinners, galas and junkets, giving foundation members access to grateful members of Congress. These events -- and the foundation itself -- make a conscious effort to avoid discussing politically contentious topics like climate change, arguably the biggest conservation challenge of our time. The ICCF, which was founded by the former lobbyist of a Nigerian dictator who ordered the execution of nine nonviolent environmental protesters, is certainly notable in its own right. But what makes this series more important than a simple expose about a deeply conflicted foundation is that the ICCF is just one of many congressionally affiliated nonprofits that have popped up in part to skirt lobbying reforms instituted after the Jack Abramoff scandal. The most shocking thing about the ICCF and its ilk, according to government transparency advocates, is that most of what they are doing appears to be completely legal.
  • National Household Survey: What we know about what we don't know

    How do you measure the flaws in a voluntary census replacement? We stacked Canada's new, controversial National Household Survey up against more reliable population data to see who hadn't filled it out - what sectors of Canadian society were missing from the country's biggest database. What we found was news to politicians, public health workers and will have implications for readers going forward.
  • Merchants of Meth

    I exposed a concerted and well-funded campaign by the country’s leading pharmaceutical companies to defeat bills in Congress and state legislatures that were aimed at stopping the spread of toxic methamphetamine labs. At issue? Pseudoephedrine sales. The popular decongestant is the one key ingredient needed to make homemade meth. It also generates revenue for major pharmaceutical firms such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck of more than $600 million a year. Fuelled by easy access to pseudoephedrine, the number of meth labs in the United States has increased by more than 60 percent since 2007. Thanks in large part to pharmaceutical industry lobbying, there has been no federal legislation to address the spread of meth labs since 2005. In 2006, Oregon successfully moved to restrict meth cooks’ access to pseudoephedrine by making it a prescription drug, despite heavy lobbying against the bill from the pharmaceutical industry. Since then, the number of meth labs in the state has fallen drastically—by more than 90 percent. Faced with the mounting social, law enforcement, and environmental costs associated with meth, legislators in at least 25 other states sought to pass similar laws. But pharmaceutical lobbyists fought back, and in all but one state—Mississippi—the bills were defeated. My reporting examined how the industry has set state lobbying spending records as it has deployed a new kind of lobbying strategy to block regulation of pseudoephedrine. Instead of focusing their efforts on courting politicians, they have taken their message directly to voters, deploying thousands of robocalls in key electoral districts and large ad buys in major media markets for advertising across multiple platforms from radio to the Internet. Their messaging, I found, was deceptive, failing to even mention that the proposed bills had to do with combatting the meth epidemic. I also examined the results of an electronic pseudoephedrine sales tracking database known as NPLEx, which is meant to prevent excessive purchasing. While it’s the only reform to ever earn backing from the pharmaceutical industry, I found a system full of holes that has been ineffective at preventing the spread of meth labs in virtually every state that has adopted it.
  • Public Salary project

    This entry consists of stories culled from a massive request for government compensation from hundreds of government agencies, cities, counties, school, college and special districts. This projects follows the money. The data is made public through data bases on our web sites and culled through by investigative reporter Thomas Peele, who roots out stories from deep in the data, including ones about secret pension boosting perks, officials paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for not working, government managers sitting on huge banks of unused vacation time to cash in at retirement, part-time elected officials who do little work while being paid hundreds of dollars and an hour, long forgotten politicians receiving free life-time government health insurance decades are leaving office. The project routinely ferrets out information about the spending of public money that not even those in charge of government agencies are aware of until Peele tells them: "Wow,” said James Fang, a member of the board of the BART transit district when informed data showed the agencies former general manager, who had resigned two years earlier in the midst if being fired, had remained in the agency's payroll for years, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars and jacking up her future pension. “She was still on the payroll? I did not know this. It’s startling.”