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" ...

  • Follow the Unlimited Money

    The Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group tracked the outside spending by groups unleashed by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, and made it easier for others to Follow the Unlimited Money as well. The centerpiece of the effort was an online database that tracked, in real time, the latest data released by the Federal Election Commission on super PACs, nonprofits, labor unions and other groups that spent money to influence elections. Our in house team of reporters used data from the database to break stories and write in-depth pieces; we also made the database publicly available on the Web and helped hundreds of journalists use it, running the gamut from major television networks such as CBS and MSNBC to newer media entrants such as Gawker and BuzzFeed and numerous local outlets. The database and the reporting derived from it provided information on outside spending groups--including super PACs and the donors that funded them and the nonprofits that don’t disclose donors--and the races they tried to influence.
  • Leadership problems at Florida State College at Jacksonville

    Through public records requests, we forced the release of several documents Florida State College at Jacksonville sought to withhold: the wrongdoing investigation of a top executive who was also a VP at a college in New Jersey, and the five-figure bonuses given annually to most of the college's top brass. We also used Florida's public records laws to get expense reports and emails that showed little oversight on spending and infighting among board members divided over what action to take. Board members for the most part had little public discussion about their votes. Our reporting on the expenses, possible Sunshine violations and problems in the college's awarding of financial aid led to two state investigations into the college's foundation spending and overall finances.
  • Locked Out

    The Oregonian spent six months investigating the location of subsidized housing in the Portland area and related failures under the nation's Fair Housing Act. Although the federal law was supposed to fight housing discrimination and end segregation, the newspaper found that investments controlled and funded by government have often been in the region's poorest neighborhoods and areas with high minority concentrations. Because people of color often have a greater need for subsidized housing, these spending decisions reinforce and perpetuate segregation in a largely white metro area.
  • United in Largesse

    United in Largesse is about extravagant spending and lack of accountability in the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers union, which has its headquarters in Kansas City, Kan. The Kansas City Star found that the union president’s salary and expenses far topped those of the presidents of the country’s largest unions and that the union had hired numerous officers’ relatives at robust salaries. The story also showed that union officials traveled by charter or first class to attractive destinations, squandered money on exclusive pheasant-hunting expeditions and Alaskan fly-fishing adventures and gave expensive cars as gifts to retiring officers. The Star also raised serious questions about conflicts of interest involving union pension fund trustees.
  • Leadership problems at Florida State College at Jacksonville

    What started as a look at problems in the financial aid department led to a widespread review of college operational issues and spending that angered taxpayers and frustrated students. Through several months of reviewing records and rooting out sources, we found that the college had almost no controls on the president's spending and the board offered little oversight. We learned that this was common throughout the state after we reviewed all presidential contracts in Florida - and found lots of big-money perks. Our stories prompted two consulting reviews by the college and two statewide investigations, one from the inspector general into the president's spending and a second from the Florida College System into FSCJ's finances. The president and two other top-level leaders left the college, and reforms are expected from the Legislature this year.
  • Buying the Election

    “Never Mind the Super PACs: How Big Business Is Buying the Election” investigates previously unreported ways that businesses have taken advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which overturned a century of campaign finance law and allowed corporations to spend directly on behalf of candidates. The piece debunks a common misperception that businesses have taken advantage of their new political spending powers primarily through so-called Super PACs. In fact, most Super PAC donations have come from extremely wealthy individuals, not corporations. The investigation shows how corporations have instead used a variety of 501(c) nonprofits, primarily 501(c)(6) “trade associations,” to direct substantial corporate money on federal elections. As one prominent advisor to GOP candidates as well as corporations points out, "many corporations will not risk running ads on their own," for fear of the reputational damage, but the trade groups make these ad buys nearly anonymous. In 2010, 501(c)(6) trade associations and 501(c)(4) issue-advocacy groups outspent Super PACs $141 million to $65 million. The investigation shows that the growth of trade association political spending has had a number of significant ramifications, such as increased leverage during beltway lobbying campaigns. Most troublingly, legal loopholes allow foreign interests to use trade associations to directly influence American elections. One of the most significant revelations in the piece was that the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for the oil and gas industry, had funneled corporate cash to groups that had run hard-hitting campaign ads while being led in part by a lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government, Tofiq Al-Gabsani. As an API board member, Al-Gabsani was part of the team that directed these efforts, which helped defeat candidates who supported legislation that would move American energy policy away from its focus on fossil fuels. Federal law prevents Al-Gabsani, as a foreign national, from leading a political action committee, or PAC. But nothing in the law stopped him from leading a trade group that made campaign expenditures just as a PAC would.
  • Indentured Students

    In a year-long series, Bloomberg detailed how the $1 trillion in outstanding student loans has imprisoned borrowers in a lifetime of debt, enabling a host of predatory collections practices, misleading financial-aid offers and out-of-control college spending -- while politicians for decades ignored mounting danger signals.
  • The Shadow Money Trail

    With our “Shadow Money Trail” series, OpenSecrets Blog (run by the Center for Responsive Politics) led all news outlets in revealing where some of the most active -- and most secretive -- outside spending groups in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles were getting their money, and how they were moving it around to like-minded organizations.
  • Platts: Russian Gas Giant Mines U.S. Energy Data

    Russia’s state-owned natural gas company says the U.S. shale-gas boom is economically unsustainable — and it’s buttressing its claim with financial data collected by an American consulting firm located less than 20 miles from the White House. Moscow-based Gazprom, the world’s largest gas company, is working with Pace Global Energy Services, a consulting firm in Fairfax, Virginia, to analyze how much money U.S. gas companies are spending on hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Gazprom, citing the Virginia company’s data, says the true costs of U.S. shale-gas production are upwards of 150% higher than the revenues its practitioners have been reaping in the last few years. Gazprom says this will ultimately lead to the demise of fracking-based shale-gas drilling in the US and other countries that are considering adopting it. But Gazprom’s critics say the company and its unlikely Washington-area ally are spreading “myths and misconceptions” about the U.S.-led shale-gas gas boom so that European and Asian countries will not develop their own shale plays, and will instead continue to buy conventional Russian gas.
  • Playing with Fire

    “Playing with Fire” focuses on a public board well out of the public eye, but one that could cost New Orleans taxpayers millions of dollars every year. After a month of digging through thousands of pages of records at the New Orleans Firefighters Pension Fund, WVUE-TV and Lee Zurik revealed questionable salaries, spending, and management.