Extra Extra : Pensions

Agencies can’t always tell who’s dead and who’s not, so benefit checks keep coming

“In the past few years, Social Security paid $133 million to beneficiaries who were deceased. The federal employee retirement system paid more than $400 million to retirees who had passed away. And an aid program spent $3.9 million in federal money to pay heating and air-conditioning bills for more than 11,000 of the dead.”

California agencies gamble on pension bonds to cover debts – and lose

“Some public officials and investment bankers have portrayed pension obligation bonds as a good way to shore up pension funds … But that gamble is not panning out so far for at least five pension obligation bonds issued by California public agencies between 1999 and January, an analysis by The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.”

Extra Extra Monday: Prosecutorial misconduct, Hollywood sting, nuclear waste lands, private prisons

Prosecutorial misconduct alleged in half of capital cases |  The Arizona Republic
In half of all capital cases in Arizona since 2002, prosecutorial misconduct was alleged by appellate attorneys. Those allegations ranged in seriousness from being over emotional to encouraging perjury. Nearly half those allegations were validated by the Arizona Supreme Court.

Hollywood Sting | Al Jazeera America
FBI investigation of a California political dynasty uncovers alleged bribery and corruption in the shadows of Tinseltown

Special report: Addicted nurses keep licenses | The Star Tribune
Some nurses continue to steal narcotics or practice while impaired under state monitoring that’s supposed to stop ...

Read more ...

Extra Extra Monday: Unfilled prison staffs, overfilled fire departments, nonprofit political spending and gun laws

Center for Public Integrity
Nonprofit spends big on politics despite IRS limitation
“The American Future Fund’s investment in California was part of a nationwide, political advertising spree in 2012 that exceeded $29 million, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of state and federal records.”

The Boston Globe
Another free pass for Ivan the Incorrigible
“This long-running spree of crime has led US immigration officials to try, at least three times in the past 12 years, to detain and deport Vaclavik. But each time he has challenged the effort with a lawsuit — and each time immigration has backed ...

Read more ...

Extra Extra Monday: Beef's raw side, pension spiking and reckless prescription writing

The Kansas City Star
Beef's Raw Edges 
"The Kansas City Star, in a yearlong investigation, found that the beef industry is increasingly relying on a mechanical process to tenderize meat, exposing Americans to higher risk of E. coli poisoning. The industry then resists labeling such products, leaving consumers in the dark. The result: Beef in America is plentiful and affordable, spun out in enormous quantities at high speeds, but it's a bonanza with hidden dangers. Industry officials contend beef is safer than it's ever been."

The Los Angeles Times
Dying For Relief: Reckless prescribing, patients endangered
"By ...

Read more ...

Extra Extra Monday: Political influence, disregarded data, costly inmates

Welcome to IRE's roundup of the weekend’s many enterprise stories from around the country. We’ll highlight the document digging, field work and data
analysis that made their way into centerpieces in print, broadcast and online from coast to coast.

Did we miss some? Let us know.  Send us an email at web@ire.org or tweet to @IRE_NICAR. We’ll add it to the list and spread the word.

The Investigative News Network
Big Political Donors Give Far and Wide, Influence Out-of-State Races and Issues
The focus on billionaires’ and corporations’ contributions to Super PACs this year ...

Read more ...

Investigating Texas' public pension fund investments

"As part of its ongoing examination of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, The Dallas Morning News investigated the shadowy world of pension fund placement agents -- the middlemen hired by private firms to solicit public capital."

"The article focused on one man, a politically connected Houston investment manager, and how his work as a placement agent served as a hidden link between public fund officials and the private firms that manage -- for significant fees -- the investment of these public dollars."

--IRE members can email extraextra@ire.org to read the full story.