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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.

 

 

 



Search results for "Federal fund" ...

  • Just sign here: Federal workers max out at taxpayers' expense

    FMCS is a tiny independent federal agency whose director's first order of business was to use federal funds to buy artwork from his own wife, $200 coasters and champagne. The agency paid $85,000 to the phantom company of a just-retired official for no services; spent $50,000 at a jewelry store, supposedly on picture frames to give its 200 employees "tenure awards;" and leased its people $53,000 cars. Large portions of its employees routinely used government credit cards for clearly personal items after merely requesting to have them “unblocked” from restricted items, according to 50,000 pages of internal documents obtained by the Washington Examiner--raising questions about purchase card use in other agencies. Federal employees were charging cell phones for their whole families and cable TV at not just their homes, but their vacation homes too, to the government. Its IT director has had hundreds of thousands of dollars of high-end electronics delivered to his home in West Virginia, and there is no record of many of those items being tracked to federal offices. Many other items billed are highly suspect, such as $500 for single USB thumb drives that retail for $20. Virtually all of its spending circumvented federal procurement laws. When employees pointed out rulebreaking, Director George Cohen forced one accountant to write a letter to the GSA retracting her complaint, had another top employee walked out by armed guards, and fired another whistleblower, a disabled veteran, for missing a day of work while she laid in the ICU. At an agency the size of FMCS, where corruption went to the top, there were no higher levels to appeal to, no Inspector General, and--previously--no press attention.

    Tags: Fraud; spending

    By Luke Rosiak

    Washington Examiner

    2013

  • Merchants of Meth

    I exposed a concerted and well-funded campaign by the country’s leading pharmaceutical companies to defeat bills in Congress and state legislatures that were aimed at stopping the spread of toxic methamphetamine labs. At issue? Pseudoephedrine sales. The popular decongestant is the one key ingredient needed to make homemade meth. It also generates revenue for major pharmaceutical firms such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck of more than $600 million a year. Fuelled by easy access to pseudoephedrine, the number of meth labs in the United States has increased by more than 60 percent since 2007. Thanks in large part to pharmaceutical industry lobbying, there has been no federal legislation to address the spread of meth labs since 2005. In 2006, Oregon successfully moved to restrict meth cooks’ access to pseudoephedrine by making it a prescription drug, despite heavy lobbying against the bill from the pharmaceutical industry. Since then, the number of meth labs in the state has fallen drastically—by more than 90 percent. Faced with the mounting social, law enforcement, and environmental costs associated with meth, legislators in at least 25 other states sought to pass similar laws. But pharmaceutical lobbyists fought back, and in all but one state—Mississippi—the bills were defeated. My reporting examined how the industry has set state lobbying spending records as it has deployed a new kind of lobbying strategy to block regulation of pseudoephedrine. Instead of focusing their efforts on courting politicians, they have taken their message directly to voters, deploying thousands of robocalls in key electoral districts and large ad buys in major media markets for advertising across multiple platforms from radio to the Internet. Their messaging, I found, was deceptive, failing to even mention that the proposed bills had to do with combatting the meth epidemic. I also examined the results of an electronic pseudoephedrine sales tracking database known as NPLEx, which is meant to prevent excessive purchasing. While it’s the only reform to ever earn backing from the pharmaceutical industry, I found a system full of holes that has been ineffective at preventing the spread of meth labs in virtually every state that has adopted it.

    Tags: Pharmaceutics; Methamphetamine;

    By Jonah Engle

    Mother Jones

    2013

  • UNO: For insiders, charter schools pay

    This investigation exposed millions of dollars in insider deals made by a major operator of taxpayer-financed, privately run charter schools in Chicago. It prompted: the freezing of state funding; the ouster of the organization's top two officials; two state investigations; and one federal investigation.

    Tags: Charter schools; Chicago; state funding

    By Dan Mihalopoulos

    Chicago Sun-Times

    2013

  • Congressional Rents

    Inside Edition’s report on “Congressional Rents” is an unprecedented investigation that uncovered case after case of US Congressmen overpaying rent for their congressional offices to fat-cat campaign donors. The rent money comes from their Member’s Representation Allowance (MRA) which is funded by tax dollars. Reporters and researchers for Inside Edition exhaustively examined tens of thousands of documents, including Secretary of State corporate records, Federal Election Commission campaign donor databases, and the Statement of Disbursements for the US House of Representatives to help uncover the shady leases for their congressional offices.

    Tags: None

    By Larry Posner

    Inside Edition (New York)

    2013

  • How Washington Starves Its Election Watchdog

    Born in the Watergate scandal’s ashes, Congress created the Federal Election Commission as a bulwark against political corruption and champion of transparency and disclosure. But a six-month investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, "How Washington Starves Its Election Watchdog," showed the agency is so fractured by partisan politicking and bereft with staffing and funding woes that it is “rotting from the inside out.”

    Tags: fec; politics; funding

    By Dave Levinthal; John Dunbar

    Center for Public Integrity

    2013

  • Outdoors grant investigation

    The investigation detailed how a handful of political insiders engineered a $500,000 hunting and fishing grant in perpetuity for some of their friends and political supporters. The taxpayer-funded grant from the state of Wisconsin went for teaching and promoting the sports of hunting and fishing, but the newly created receiving organization, the United Sportsmen, didn’t have any experience doing that work. Instead, the group had been doing political work and lobbying, often for goals at odds with those of some other outdoors groups, such as supporting a massive proposed pit mine in an area used by hunters and anglers. In spite of that, lawmakers wrote the grant qualifications to exclude more experienced groups and target their ally, which had the support of one of the state’s wealthiest and most influential campaign donors. In doing so, the lawmakers knowingly but surreptitiously put at risk millions of dollars in federal conservation funds for Wisconsin.

    Tags: corruption; taxes; politics; lobbying

    By Patrick Marley; Jason Stein; Paul A. Smith

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    2013

  • Hanford's Dirty Secrets

    “Hanford’s Dirty Secrets” exposed mismanagement, wasted tax dollars and a cover-up by government officials and private contractors at the country’s most contaminated site -- the Hanford Nuclear Reservation located in Washington state -- where the most complex environmental cleanup effort in human history is underway. The liquid and solid waste housed at Hanford is dangerously radioactive and toxic, and any leak has the potential to pose serious threats to human and environmental health throughout the Pacific Northwest. The federal government produced plutonium at Hanford for the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan and for the U.S. nuclear arsenal throughout the Cold War. This production left behind millions of gallons of cancer-causing nuclear byproducts, much of which remains stored in aging underground tanks at Hanford. KING’s reporting showed that the government contractor in charge of the tanks ignored signs of leaking nuclear waste for nearly a year while the company collected millions in bonus money from the Dept. of Energy for its "very successful" stewardship of the waste holding tanks. In addition, we revealed that during the year the contractor failed to address the leak, the company wasted millions of taxpayer funds on a project rendered useless by the very fact that the tank was leaking

    Tags: nuclear waste; Hanford; radioactive; toxins; Dept of Energy

    By usannah Frame, reporter; Steve Douglas, photojournalist; Russ Walker, Executive Producer; John Vu, graphic designer; Mark Ginther, News Director

    KING-TV (Seattle)

    2013

  • Wisconsin's disabled jobless shortchanged

    Thousands of unemployed Wisconsinites with disabilities waited for months to receive services from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which is tasked with helping those with disabilities find employment. The wait list was expected to grow in length and number after the Legislature, for the third year in a row, did not request the full amount of federal funds available for the agency -- which could eliminate the waiting list altogether.

    Tags: disabilites; employment

    By Tegan Wendland

    Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

    2013

  • Police Cell Phone Surveillance

    The National Security Agency isn't the only government entity secretly collecting data from people's cellphones. The joint USA TODAY Network investigation found that local police are increasingly scooping it up, too. Armed with new technologies, including mobile devices that tap into cellphone data in real time, dozens of local and state police agencies are capturing information about thousands of cellphone users at a time, whether they are targets of an investigation or not, according to public records obtained by USA TODAY and Gannett newspapers and TV stations across the U.S. The records, from more than 125 police agencies in 33 states, reveal about one in four law-enforcement agencies have used a tactic known as a "tower dump," which gives police data about the identity, activity and location of any phone that connects to the targeted cellphone towers over a set span of time, usually an hour or two. A typical dump covers multiple towers, and wireless providers, and can net information from thousands of phones. We also found that at least 25 police departments own a Stingray, a suitcase-size device that costs as much as $400,000 and acts as a fake cell tower. The system, typically installed in a vehicle so it can be moved into any neighborhood, tricks all nearby phones into connecting to it and feeding data to police. In some states, the devices are available to any local police department via state surveillance units. The federal government funds most of the purchases, via anti-terror grants. Police mostly didn’t want to talk about the tactics, though privacy advocates and state and federal lawmakers expressed serious concerns about the ability of local police to scoop up large amounts of data on people who weren’t under investigation and typically without the same protections, and checks and balances, afforded by a search warrant.

    Tags: police; technology; privacy

    By Joint investigation by USA Today and Gannett Co. newsapers and TV stations

    USA Today

    2013

  • A Home, But No Help

    As rates of homelessness were soaring in Hillsborough County, the local government’s program for housing the poor was in crisis. It was paying millions of dollars to slumlords who housed the homeless, including veterans and families with small children, alongside sex offenders in filthy, crime-ridden and bug-infested buildings. It was sending the sick and dying to a squalid, unlicensed home where they were abused and they languished without care. It even ensured, through a perverse misuse of a federal reimbursement plan, that a few homeless people who qualified for federal disability money stayed destitute by garnishing most of their government checks. All of this was going on, but nobody --- not top government leaders nor the taxpayers who funded it --- knew the extent of the problems. That all changed when the Tampa Bay Times started reporting on the program. A series of stories by reporters Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia brought greater transparency to local government. The stories resulted in sweeping reforms and gave the area’s vulnerable homeless a voice for the first time in decades.

    Tags: homeless;

    By Michael LaForgia; Will Hobson

    Tampa Bay Times

    2013