Resource Center

Stories

 

 

 

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories — both print and broadcast.

These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center.

 

 

 



  • Nuclear Missteps

    Beginning with his discovery of an internal Air Force admission of "rot" infesting its nuclear missile forces, AP National Security Writer Robert Burns probed to extraordinary depths within this highly secretive, rarely investigated organization for eight months to reveal a series of missteps by men and women with their finger on the trigger of the world's most deadly weapons. Using sources inside and outside the Air Force, in Washington and beyond, Burns documented deliberate safety and security violations, personal misbehavior, training failures, leadership lapses and chilling evidence of malaise among those entrusted with nuclear weapons. Burns peeled away the veneer of Air Force assurances that nothing was amiss, and brought to the attention of the American public a fuller picture of a nuclear missile force facing an uncertain future. His reporting prompted the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, to lament these "troubling lapses" and make a personal visit tot he force to insist they live up to their standards and demonstrate that they can be trusted with nuclear responsibilities.

    Tags: nuclear weapons; air force

    By Robert Burns

    Associated Press

    2013

  • Nuclear Waste

    What could possibly be wrongheaded about a U.S.-Russian effort to eliminate 64 tons of plutonium that could be fashioned into thousands of nuclear weapons? Begun in the 1990’s, it was blessed by four presidents, including Barack Obama, who called it an important way “to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons.” To carry it out, the federal government spent billions of dollars on a South Carolina plant to transform the Cold War detritus into fuel for civilian nuclear power plants, an act meant to turn swords into ploughshares — all with surprisingly little debate or oversight in Washington. When the Center for Public Integrity looked closely at the project, after hearing of some of its troubles, we found plenty of scandal. Our major conclusions are reported in our "Nuclear Waste" series of four articles totaling around 12,000 words that were published in June 2013.

    Tags: nuclear waste; nuclear weapons; power plants

    By Douglas Birch, R. Jeffrey Smith, David Donald, Alex Cohen

    Center for Public Integrity

    2013

  • Special Report: Florence Report

    “Florence Exposed” is a three-part Phoenix New Times investigative series by Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons that demonstrates how small-town political corruption had tragic consequences in the Arizona prison city of Florence. The events described in “Florence Exposed” were developed after a tip from Phoenix NAACP leader Oscar Tillman, who trusted the alternative newspaper above all other Phoenix-area media to investigate what he had been told by a Florence police officer about politically influenced corruption within the city department. The officer and his partner – by that time fired for trying to find out what really happened in a child's slaying and a teenager's alleged rape – then turned over records to the paper that were at the core of the reporting. By demonstrating how the department, either purposely or through gross ineptitude, botched the investigations of these crimes, Phoenix New Times laid the groundwork for what should be a police-misconduct probe by state or federal authorities – if officials in Arizona could be trusted to do the right thing.

    Tags: political corruption; prisons; police; rape

    By Monica Alonso, Stephen Lemons

    Phoenix New Times

    2013

  • Toncev's Mafia Ties

    Ivica Toncev appeared out of nowhere and became a major figure in Serbian government. He became the right hand man of Serbian Prime Minister and Minister of Police Ivica Dacic, who had made his name through high profile arrests of crime figures. But the powerful national security adviser was not who he seemed. In fact, he had long-time friendships and was as an ongoing business partner with some of the most ruthless organized crime figures in the Balkans. OCCRP also proved that the Prime Minister was warned of these connections early on but chose not to act. The story raised serious questions about the leading political party in Serbia and its ties to organized crime.

    Tags: crime; mafia; Serbian government

    By Steven Dojcinovic, Bojana Jovanovic, Drew Sullivan

    Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (Sarajevo)

    2013

  • Cops. Cash. Cocaine.

    Rather than chase drug dealers out of town, police in the city of Sunrise invited them in. The suburban South Florida town has no great cocaine trafficking problem, but police found that selling kilos of the drug, at a discount, could make them millions. The Sun Sentinel exposed the undercover operation and provided a unique look at how far one local police department would go to use forfeiture laws to seize cash and assets from criminal suspects. Many of the deals took place in and around family restaurants, such as TGI Fridays, near the town’s main attraction, a sprawling outlet mall. Police often engineered the stings with the help of a professional lady informant. The newspaper found the city had paid her more than $800,000 over five years to target individuals and draw them into Sunrise. Cops working the stings had a financial incentive too: they made considerable overtime from forfeiture funds.

    Tags: police; drugs; cocaine; trafficking

    By Megan O'Matz, John Maines, Susan Stocker

    Sun-Sentinel

    2013

  • Together Forever: Unforeseen tragedies forever bind best friends

    This was an enterprise story about two young women who were best friends since childhood who died tragically within a few months in 2012. Our story included fire inspection reports, police reports, legal filings, interviews with friends and family members and the heart-wrenching audio from a 911 call in the aftermath of a house fire that killed the first young woman. The reporting found that one young man was blamed by fire inspectors for causing the fire, but he was not criminally charged.

    Tags: fire; deaths

    By Nate Rau

    The Tennessean

    2013

  • Pharma’s Windfall: The Mining of Rare Diseases

    In 1983, California congressman Henry Waxman helped pass the Orphan Drug Act to encourage research on rare diseases. The law offered financial incentives to drug makers in hopes they would tackle long-neglected disorders while breaking even or posting modest profits. Ever since, the Orphan Drug Act was lauded as government at its finest, praised for providing a boon in generating new pharmaceuticals. But by the act’s 30th anniversary, The Seattle Times found that the law’s good intentions had been subverted. In what amounts to a windfall, the pharmaceutical industry has exploited this once-obscure niche of the healthcare field, turning rare diseases into a multibillion dollar enterprise and the fastest-growing sector of America’s prescription-drug system. The series, “Pharma’s Windfall: The Mining of Rare Diseases,” uses extensive data from the FDA and NIH, along with financial reports from the SEC to show the financial incentives behind the system. For the human repercussions, the reporters found and told the stories of families struggling with rare disease.

    Tags: rare diseases; disease; pharmaceuticals

    By Michael J. Berens; Ken Armstrong

    The Seattle Times

    2013

  • Lobbyist in the Henhouse

    Lobbyist in the Henhouse is the product of a stunning seven-month investigation into what happens when an industrial lobbyist is hired to serve as Maine's top environmental official. Colin Woodard, a 2012 Polk winner, carefully documented how Patricia Aho, a corporate lobbyist who became commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, smothered programs and fought against laws that she had opposed on behalf of her former clients in the chemical, drug, oil and real estate development industries.

    Tags: lobbying; environment

    By Colin Woodward

    Portland Press Herald

    2013

  • Exploding Gas Cans

    Our report alerted consumers to a danger that sits in almost every garage and sparked action at the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Red plastic gas cans, the kind used to do things like fill up lawn equipment, are exploding while people use them and some experts say the explosions could be prevented if manufacturers would include a device called a flame arrestor in their product design. Our series warned viewers about what could happen, exposed lawsuits where companies were sued for making faulty products, and asked manufacturers why they haven’t included this life saving product modification.

    Tags: gas; explosions; manufacturers

    By Clark Fouraker; Marybeth Jacoby; Steven Dial; Neel Dhere

    WLTX

    2013

  • Hospital Freeloader

    Our investigation started with a tip from an insider at an Ohio State University Hospital. Here’s what we uncovered: A homeless immigrant with an expired Green Card, and violent criminal past, making that hospital room his home for more than two years and counting. Our investigation learned Francis Kirton received kidney dialysis a few times a week. It’s an expensive out-patient procedure. We wanted to know why Kirton was allowed to literally live at the hospital, who picked up the tab, and why an immigrant with expired papers hasn’t been deported. Also, we wanted to know if there were other Francis Kirtons keeping house at Ohio hospitals. Getting answers to those questions was difficult. What we discovered was mind-boggling.

    Tags: hospital; immigration

    By Tom Sussi; Drew Jones

    WSYX-TV (Columbus, Ohio)

    2013