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 "spending" ...

  • 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.”
  • What the Federal Communications Commission’s political ad files tell us about the influence of money on politics — and what’s left out of those files

    The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court has led to a proliferation of political groups, thinly disguised as non-profits, that don’t surface on many radar screens. They don’t have to file their contributions or most of their spending the the Federal Election Commission and any accounting they deliver to the IRS comes years after the election they worked to influence. To help uncover the political agendas behind this dark money, the Sunlight Foundation created Political Ad Sleuth, a tool that helps surface information from the one place that these groups still must leave a paper trail — the TV stations where they buy their ads.
  • Broken Bonds

    A Tribune investigation revealed how Chicago’s leaders blew through nearly $20 billion in bond money – a reckless pattern of borrowing that undermined the city’s future by spending on worthless projects, structuring financial deals in ways that could run afoul of Internal Revenue Service rules and piling an unsustainable level of debt onto the shoulders of future generations.
  • NSA and the Snowden files

    For six months, The Washington Post was on the leading edge of reporting on the National Security Agency and the documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden. It began by becoming the first news outlet to disclose PRISM, a massive program to vacuum up e-mails, documents and other electronic records from the largest U.S. Internet companies. Later, The Post revealed the NSA’s repeated violations of its own privacy rules; examined the workings of the secretive federal court overseeing surveillance activities; exposed the NSA’s clandestine collection of millions of e-mail address books globally; and broke the news that the agency was gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world. The Post shattered the decades-long secrecy surround the intelligence community’s “black budget,” publishing an in-depth story based on the budget summary for fiscal 2013 and disclosing unprecedented details about spending levels in graphics in print and online. At the end of the year, reporter Bart Gellman conducted the first in-person interview with Snowden in Russia.
  • Governor'Security Detail Overtime Tops $1 Million

    A six-month long investigation reveals that, despite campaigning on promises of cutting overtime costs for state employees, Governor Dannel Malloy own security team has racked up more than $1.1 million dollars in overtime in his first two years in office. That is more than the combined overtime costs for the security details of both the previous governor and lieutenant governor. Much of the overtime comes from Governor Malloy's extensive national and international travel, something critics deride as Malloy's bid for national exposure. A follow-up story found costs for the Governor's highly criticized trip to the White House Correspondents' Dinner cost $4800, despite the administration's previous claims that there was no taxpayer expense involved in the trip. Since the stories aired, the trip costs and overtime expenses for Malloy's security detail have become a campaign issue.
  • The downfall of a jet-setting university president

    Evan Dobelle is a self-described visionary who compares himself to Apple founder Steve Jobs, and he charmed his way into the job of president at Westfield State University despite his checkered past. For years, Dobelle’s outsized personality dominated the western Massachusetts school -- until Globe reporters obtained copies of Dobelle’s outrageous business expense reports last July. Four months later, Dobelle resigned in disgrace on the heels of a series of investigative reports in the Globe that described hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable business expenses, including exotic travel, luxury hotels, limo rides and an entire “business” trip to San Francisco that appears to have been a sham. Dobelle now faces an attorney general’s investigation for allegedly filing false claims to collect expenses. The Globe stories raised difficult questions about the quality of supervision in Massachusetts state universities, which rely on unpaid trustees to oversee hundreds of millions in public spending. Dobelle, it turned out, had been fired for wasteful spending and dishonesty at the University of Hawaii, but Westfield State trustees hired him anyway, then looked away when he resumed his free spending ways in Massachusetts.
  • Biggest of the Smalls: The Rise of a Federal Contractor

    In the last decade, the federal government has made an unprecedented push to direct work to small businesses in order to help such firms gain a foothold in the U.S. economy. The amount of money devoted to small business contracting rose 70 percent to $90 billion annually during that period. In this tide of spending, one firm stood out as the paragon of success: MicroTechnologies LLC. Records show it received $1.4 billion in federal technology deals over nine years, much of it reserved for small firms own by minority and service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs. MicroTech became the fastest growing small contractor in the nation. Founder Anthony R. Jimenez, declared it to be the "Biggest of the Smalls." Those deals transformed Jimenez's lifestyle. He bought a mansion -- and then commissioned a quarter-million entertainment system for it. He began driving a $190,000 Mercedes coupe. And he became a top sponsor of multiple martial arts "cage fighting," routinely flying to Las Vegas at company expense. “I am living the American Dream,” he said in a letter to The Washington Post. But MicroTech's extraordinary ascent begged a simple-seeming question: How could such a large company still be eligible to receive contracts set aside for small firms? Until The Post's Robert O'Harrow Jr. dug in, no one in the media or government knew the answer or bothered to check. O'Harrow pushed ahead the old fashioned way: he issued Freedom of Information Act Requests for contracting documents and demanded government officials open their files. His investigation found that MicroTech had misled the government and the public about its ownership and operations to get access to preferential contracts and burnish its own image. In doing so, the firm abused taxpayers and deprived other small firms access to hundreds of million in deals. In response to those findings, the government suspended MicroTech from contracting and changed some contracting rules. Two inspectors general offices are investigating and Congress has launched its own probes.
  • Biggest of the Smalls: The Rise of a Federal Contractor

    In the last decade, the federal government has made an unprecedented push to direct work to small businesses in order to help such firms gain a foothold in the U.S. economy. The amount of money devoted to small business contracting rose 70 percent to $90 billion annually during that period. In this tide of spending, one firm stood out as the paragon of success: MicroTechnologies LLC. Records show it received $1.4 billion in federal technology deals over nine years, much of it reserved for small firms own by minority and service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs. MicroTech became the fastest growing small contractor in the nation. Founder Anthony R. Jimenez, declared it to be the "Biggest of the Smalls." Those deals transformed Jimenez's lifestyle. He bought a mansion -- and then commissioned a quarter-million entertainment system for it. He began driving a $190,000 Mercedes coupe. And he became a top sponsor of multiple martial arts "cage fighting," routinely flying to Las Vegas at company expense. “I am living the American Dream,” he said in a letter to The Washington Post. But MicroTech's extraordinary ascent begged a simple-seeming question: How could such a large company still be eligible to receive contracts set aside for small firms? Until The Post's Robert O'Harrow Jr. dug in, no one in the media or government knew the answer or bothered to check. O'Harrow's investigation found that MicroTech had misled the government and the public about its ownership and operations to get access to preferential contracts and burnish its own image. In doing so, the firm abused taxpayers and deprived other small firms access to hundreds of million in deals. In response to those findings, the government suspended MicroTech from contracting and changed some contracting rules. Two inspectors general offices are investigating and Congress has launched its own probes.
  • Chronic Crisis

    The investigation explored why mental health care in Milwaukee County is especially ineffective. We found that Milwaukee politicians for decades have ignored calls for reform, clinging to an outdated system that preserves union jobs at the expense of better care. Milwaukee has the most lopsided system in the country, spending more on emergency and in-patient care than any other. Doctors are bound by the strictest time constraints in the country, allowing them 24 hours to observe patients considered dangerous, even in cases when patients are unconscious from suicide attempts. Our data analysis found people returning for care at an alarming rate. One woman had been seen 196 times in six years, an average of once every 11 days. One man had been brought in by police 10 times in one month. A big part of this project was not just to show the problem but to identify ways that Milwaukee County could improve. This required us to travel to other cities — including Geel, Belgium — to look at communities that do a better job.
  • Following the Money: Indiana Storm Sausage

    This 6-month WTHR investigation exposed how Indiana diverted millions of dollars in disaster recovery grant money to private corporations that weren't impacted by any of the state's widespread disasters. While flood victims and hard-hit communities received little direct financial assistance, state leaders quietly allocated $20 million to fund pet projects for businesses. Their justification -- creating jobs in disaster-impacted areas -- proved unfounded, and WTHR discovered much of the money was wasted or simply disappeared. Using dogged research, thorough reporting and creative storytelling, WTHR exposed a grant program plagued by poor oversight, questionable spending and missing money.