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 "public records" ...

  • KARE 11 Investigates: Double Billing the Badge - The Patrol Car Payback

    KARE 11's groundbreaking multi-year investigation "Double Billing the Badge - The Patrol Car Payback" exposed a complex scheme to overcharge hundreds of police agencies on thousands of squad cars. It led to a criminal conviction, reforms in state procurement policies, and a massive refund of taxpayer dollars.
  • ’Drag this out’: Atlanta mayor’s office directs delay of public requests

    In a unique partnership, WSB-TV joined resources with investigative journalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Reporters, producers and editors crafted stories for the needs of their audiences and platforms but broke them in tandem. Management from both media outlets collaborated to make a formal complaint with the state after reporting on city officials frustrating Georgia’s Open Records Act. WSB-TV and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both owned by parent company Cox Media Group
  • You, Too - The Public Cost of Sex Harassment

    In a three-month investigation, NBC5 Investigates, Telemundo Chicago, and the Better Government Association tracked down case after case of government employees in the Chicago area, accused of sexual misconduct, harassment, abuse, assault, or even rape. We filed nearly 2,000 public records requests for documents from local governmental agencies, and – so far – found it cost taxpayers $55 million over more than 400 cases. Tracking hundreds of lawsuits, complaints, and internal investigations filed over the past ten years, we found scores of complaints with local police departments, city halls, public schools, community colleges, park districts, townships and more.
  • WUFT: Cost of Sunshine

    Public record requests of various county and local governments were made in an effort to determine the number of public record requests received by each governmental unit, the cost to provide access to the requested records, the fees recovered from requestors, and copies of agency public record access policies. Those governmental units not audited received a survey designed to obtain the same information sought in the public record requests. Public record requests included all county constitutional officers in nine Florida counties as well as the city clerk in the county seat. County constitutional officers include the state attorney; sheriff; clerk of court; tax collector; property appraiser; supervisor of elections; public defender; and school superintendent. Counties were chosen based on geographic and population diversity. Six state agencies were also included: Executive Office of Governor, Attorney General,Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Financial Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
  • The Journal by KLC: Ogallala Aquifer

    This 7,000-word story by investigative reporter Karen Dillon outlines why it's so difficult for farmers, state officials and local governments to slow the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, a vital economic resource for western Kansas. It is based on water-use data acquired through a state open records request. The information helps illustrate the scale of aquifer's depletion and who is most responsible. The Journal is the first publication to our knowledge that has used public records to detail the 150 largest users of the aquifer's groundwater over the past 13 years. This list serves an important public interest since groundwater belongs to the people of Kansas under state law.
  • Texas Observer: Access Denied

    The Texas Public Information Act is under attack. The law, which ensures the public’s access to government records, has taken a beating from state Supreme Court jurists, lawmakers and state agencies since it was passed in 1973. Once a shining example of government transparency, the law has been eroded by a growing list of loopholes for everything from ongoing police investigations and the dates of birth of government employees to information related to executions. Journalists are well aware of this problem, but it had never been presented to the public in a deep-dive feature until now. “Access Denied” reveals that government officials can delay, derail and deny requests by slow-walking them or charging exorbitant fees. This piece was reported over six months and included interviews with dozens of government officials, investigative journalists, citizen activists and researchers.
  • State Police Troopers, Supervisors Charged in Overtime Scandal

    Dozens of respected members of the Massachusetts State Police are suspended, so far ten have been criminally charged, and the investigations by federal and state prosecutors are continuing with more arrests expected in 2019. All of this is the result of a massive overtime scheme that was uncovered by 5 Investigates, the investigative team at WCVB in Boston. This is a precedent setting scandal that has unfolded in Massachusetts since our initial investigation. The work of 5 Investigates began in 2017 with dozens of public records requests and our first story in October that revealed supervisors and troopers who appeared to be earning thousands of dollars in overtime they never worked. By early 2018, we began to see significant developments -- suspensions, arrests for theft of taxpayer money, and a response from the Governor that resulted in some of the largest reforms within the State Police that Massachusetts has ever seen.
  • PublicSource: Pittsburgh's lack of cybersecurity and transparency

    The City of Pittsburgh's cybersecurity is lacking, according to a commissioned report, and officials won't address the issues publicly. That same report found serious issues with the way the city handles software and other IT projects and how it structures its Department of Innovation & Performance. Through a public records request and "copy and paste" sleuthing, PublicSource revealed details about how city cybersecurity and IT practices are lacking, potentially putting citizens and local government at risk.
  • NYT: Using FOIA To Open Access to the Government in the Trump Era

    The regulatory and legal system that for the last 50 years has protected the environment in the United States--the air that we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the toxic chemicals we encounter--is facing an assault unlike anything since the modern environmental movement began in the 1960s. The New York Times in the past year has committed an extraordinary amount of resources not just to investigate the controversies inside the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. But we also have fanned out across the United States to document the real impact this radical shift in regulatory policy is having, via an ambitious investigative project that demanded all of the skills journalism can deliver from FOIAs, to databases, to litigation, to government sources, narrative storytelling and innovative online and print presentations. It is one of the biggest stories of our times. And no one has covered it as aggressively as The New York Times. FOIA, for almost every piece we have published, has been a critical part of our reporting.
  • Miami Herald: FIU Bridge

    On March 15, an under-construction, 174-foot-long concrete pedestrian bridge collapsed on a busy road next to Florida International University's campus. Five people who by a cruel twist of fate happened to be driving under the bridge were instantly crushed to death. In addition, a worker standing on top of the structure, a joint project managed by both FIU and the state of Florida, was killed in the collapse. Several more people were injured. Herald reporters immediately rushed to the scene to report on the stunning accident. Following the initial coverage, a team of reporters worked for the rest of the year -- fighting for public records all the way -- to uncover why the bridge had fallen, who had oversight of the taxpayer-funded project, why the road below it remained open during crucial structural work and the impact on the families of the dead.