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" ...

  • "Swiped Again"

    Our stories launched investigations by the Inspector General, District Attorney, and Legislative Auditor. It pushed a board to fire two employees and force those employees to repay thousands of dollars. We uncovered tens of thousands of dollars of questionable expenses by a state agency.
  • Louisiana Purchased

    “Louisiana Purchased” is the most comprehensive look at the big business of campaign financing in the history of Louisiana. The series - a first of its kind collaboration between WVUE and NOLA.com/The Times Picayune – used the investigative teams’ collective resources to pull back the curtain on a labyrinthine system hidden within millions of pieces of data. “Louisiana Purchased” highlighted illegal activities, questionable practices, and toothless ethics enforcement. The investigative team uncovered that over the course of four years (2009-2012) nearly $204 million poured into the campaigns of Louisiana’s state and local candidates. One-third of the $204 million donated was financed by less than one percent of the donors, .3 percent to be exact. Those donors made up an elite “Top 400” campaign contributor that subsequently became the driving force behind much of “Louisiana Purchased”. From that list, the team uncovered patterns that showed high dollar donors with choice board appointments, lavish campaign spending and politicians collecting more money than the law allowed. As a result, lawmakers admitted they broke the law and paid back the money and according to the state treasurer, ethics enforcement will get more financial backing as a direct result of our stories.
  • Body of Evidence

    “Body of Evidence” unveils a complex system of corruption and abuse tucked away in an affluent New Orleans suburb. Until Lee Zurik and WVUE started digging, it was virtually unknown that the coroner of St. Tammany Parish (County), a bedroom community north of the city, was the highest paid elected official in the state, making as much as Vice President Joe Biden. “Body of Evidence” went on to peel back layer upon layer of questionable spending, taxpayer waste, and eventually illegal activities. WVUE’s findings included lavish meals charged on a public credit card and hundreds of thousands in raises for the coroner and top staff members after convincing the public to vote for a tax to increase his budget. But that was just the beginning. Zurik eventually discovered Galvan was cashing in tens of thousands dollars in supposed unused sick and vacation time all while jet-setting around the globe. Within weeks “Body of Evidence” sparked an unprecedented recall effort. Within three months, he then had a lucrative contract cancelled, and the FBI opened its own investigation. By the five month mark, state law was changed and stripped the coroner’s power over his own budget. At month eight, the coroner resigned and pleaded guilty in federal court.
  • Sandy charities investigation

    An investigation into a major illegal charity set up as superstorm Sandy hit the New Jersey shore, and the lack of spending of millions of dollars of Sandy-specific contributions by some of the largest established charities in the nation.
  • The Austerity Audit

    In 2013, the United Kingdom began its most radical welfare reform in a generation – a government program to severely reduce spending on working-age benefit payments. The Financial Times saw an opportunity to illustrate a human and economic drama and through data analysis, it revealed an estimated loss of £19bn a year in annual welfare payments that could disrupt families, communities and businesses across the UK. The FT Austerity Audit was the first media investigation to explore and evaluate the economic and business consequences of the historic welfare reforms. Guided by exclusive data research that revealed a wide variation in the impact of the cuts, FT reporters fanned out across Britain to produce a startling analysis that generated heated debate: some northern towns and cities would be hit five-times as hard as suburban southern counties. The FT published an ambitious, two-day series that generated buzz across social media and much debate in the UK political sphere. Its story-telling was innovative and expansive – with interactive graphics, video, photography and text combined in a custom-designed website. The interactive map was rich in detail and both easy and exciting to use.
  • Free The Files

    To learn more about how dark money groups spent the money they were secretly raising, ProPublica launched the “Free the Files” project. First, we enlisted volunteers to gather files from local TV stations detailing political ad buys and share them with us to release online. These records, previously available only on paper to people who visited the stations in person, provided details about spending often not included in the groups’ reports to election authorities. The FCC later ordered some stations to put ad buy data online, but the jumble of documents posted could not be digitally searched. To make the information useful, ProPublica created a news application that showed volunteers how to sort the records by market, amount and -- most critically -- by candidate or group. More than 1,000 people helped us create a database that logged up to $1 billion in ads. Tapping this data, ProPublica reporters were able to show how massive infusions of dark money influenced races in Ohio and New Mexico.
  • The battle for V.I. Senate spending records

    The Virgin Islands Daily News battled the Virgin Islands Senate via FOI requests, numerous stories and editorials, and we finally had to file a lawsuit against the legislative body – at a cost of more than $20,000 to our under-10,000 circulation newspaper – before winning access to thousands of records of the senators' spending. As a result, several senators chose not to run for reelection, several were not reelected and the rest have made loud and public pledges of total transparency. The newspaper's scrutiny and reporting on the misuse of public money – as revealed in the documents we obtained – is ongoing.
  • University President Syndrome

    An investigation into alleged misspending by the president of a prestigious medical school in Dallas.
  • Inside the Matrix

    The National Security Agency is America’s largest, most costly, and by far most secret intelligence agency. Because its mandate is to eavesdrop on all forms of communications, from email messages to cell phones calls to Google searches to Tweets, it is also the agency that poses the greatest potential harm to the privacy of American citizens. What few outside the intelligence community knew, until Wired’s April cover story, was just how much private data the agency was collecting, where they would store it all, how they would analyze it, and how much of a threat this capability posed to Americans. In the article I describe the agency’s hidden growth over the past decade, spending tens of billions of dollars on new eavesdropping centers around the county, in Georgia, Texas, Colorado and Hawaii. Most importantly, I focused on the final piece in that complex technological puzzle, a gargantuan and highly secret facility where all of that intercepted communications would be stored and analyzed. At a million square feet, the Bluffdale, Utah center could potentially hold up to a yottabyte of data, somewhere around 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text, much of that communications to and from American citizens. I also revealed for the first time the NSA’s highly secret new supercomputer complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. To analyze the mountains of data in the Bluffdale center, much of it encrypted, the agency’s Oak Ridge scientists are working on a computer designed to operate at zetaflop speeds – a billion billion operations a second. Thus, the article outlines for the first time the NSA's growing -- and increasingly dangerous -- eavesdropping capabilities.
  • Big Money in Non-cash Donations

    The overvaluation of non-cash donations such as medicine, food, and medical supplies can often lead to charities inflating revenues and appearing to be spending more on their programs than on administrative expenses such as salaries and benefits. Donors giving to a good cause are largely unaware of such overvaluations, especially when a charity's claim of having "delivered $450 million worth of food and medicine" is the type of success that has lured their donation in the first place. Often, however, that claim of $450 million "worth" of goods is a very generous estimate based on valuations that can be difficult to disprove. The Chronicle of Philanthropy publishes a list of the nation's top 400 charities each year and decided to take a closer look at nonprofits whose revenues are predominantly comprised of such non-cash donations, called "gifts in kind," that regulators are beginning to take a closer look at because of how easily they can be overvalued. We had hoped to find a story that would highlight this element of revenue reporting in order to inform donors, alert charities, and put regulators on notice since enforcement is so lax in this particular area. Our reporting led to a charity subtracting $250 million of revenues from its books and dismissing the consultant it had hired specifically to secure non-cash donations.