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.

 

 

 



Search results for "Federal fund" ...

  • 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

  • The Meth Menace

    Following a significant increase in meth lab seizures in West Virginia, Charleston Gazette reporters revealed that drugstores were selling massive quantities of cold medications that were being diverted to make illegal methamphetamine in clandestine labs. Gazette reporters also found that meth lab cleanup claims were draining the West Virginia Crime Victims Compensation Fund -- a fund initially set up to pay medical and funeral expenses for victims of violent crime. The series sparked a federal investigation.

    Tags: meth; drugs

    By Eric Eyre; David Gutman; Rob Byers; Rachel Malenda; Victoria Zigadlo

    Charleston Gazette

    2013

  • Stronger Than The Storm

    NJ Gov. Chris Christie and his hand-picked appointees directed that $25 million of the federal superstorm Sandy rescue money be used in a TV advertising campaign that starred Christie during his reelection year. The Press found that the section committee paid a politically connected PR firm $2 million more in profits than the losing bidder - who said they would not put the governor in the TV commercials.

    Tags: money; funds; fraud

    By Bob Jordan; Paul D'Ambrosio

    Asbury Park Press (Neptune, N.J.)

    2013

  • Phila City Paper Forfeiture

    Topic: An investigation into how civil asset forfeiture in Philadelphia results in the systematic seizure of cash from individuals not convicted of a crime. "Civil asset forfeiture," is a legal construct that allows government entities to pursue money allegedly tied to crime via a civil, versus criminal, process. Originally intended as a tool to thwart large and complex organized criminal enterprises, the use of civil forfeiture in relatively small-time cases has ballooned in recent decades, especially on the local level to the point where many law enforcement agencies rely on (increasingly petty) forfeiture actions to fund their own operations. While there has been increasing attention paid to forfeiture on the federal level, there exists little published data and reporting on local-level forfeiture operations around the country. This was certainly true in Philadelphia, where my investigation into the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office revealed almost entirely unreported, massive, and profoundly indifferent civil forfeiture apparatus, in which cases are churned out by the thousands in an assembly line-like process, an individual's guilt or innocence is largely irrelevant, and which has been crafted to allow the D.A.'s Office to raise millions annually in revenue from thousands of cases whose merits will almost never be "proven" or even argued before a before a judge or jury.

    Tags: Civil asset forfeiture;

    By Isaiah Thompson

    Philadelphia City Paper

    2012

  • The Dallas Morning News: Texas' Cancer-Fighting Agency

    Since May, 2012, The Dallas Morning News has published a dozen stories and 16 blog posts on a series of political and legal problems facing a new state agency, The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The agency opened to much acclaim in 2009; it is the second-largest U.S. source of funds to fight cancer, second only to the federal government’s National Cancer Institute.

    Tags: The Cancer Prevention and Research Insitute of Texas; Cancer

    By James Drew;Sue Goetinck Ambrose;Doug Swanson

    Dallas Morning News

    2012

  • Not all of Hinchey's earmarks live up to billing

    One of the leading politicians in central New York is longtime US Rep. Maurice Hinchey. He has been unapologetic and prolific crafting earmarks that steer federal funds into his sprawling district. Many in the Hudson Valley can see the results: a pedestrian bridge that spans the Hudson River, renovations for an historic opera house and help to at-risk youth. There are dozens and dozens of others. By one estimate, two years ago the senior Democrat was among the nation's top 12 earmarking members of Congress. But a review found his earmarks have not always lived up to billing. Money for solar energy companies that did not create hundreds of promised jobs. A presidential helicopter that was supposed to be built largely in Owego, NY, is scrapped, and was decried by President Obama and US Sen. John McCain, among others, as an extremely wasteful. Also not fulfilling promises was a military contractor where dozens of jobs were predicted. While Hinchey had been identified in the past as prolific with earmarks, even the past two years finding ways to work around Congress’ ostensible ban on earmarks, no one had gone back through the public record to examine on a large scale whether key projects lived up to promises. The students obtained and examined federal databases on earmarks, read the public record on pronouncements at the time the earmarks were issued, and identified key projects that did not live up to billing.

    Tags: hinchey; politics; ny; hudson valley; failed promises

    By Faith Gimzek; Roberto Cruz;Devon Pope;Laura Cerrone;Sarah Boalt;Jaleesa Baulkman;Maria Jayne

    Legislative Gazette

    2012

  • 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.

    Tags: fec; pacs; citizens united; database

    By Bill Allison; Jacob Fento; Jake Harper; Rebecca Heller; Kathy Kiely; Kathryn Lucero; Anupama Narayanswamy; Keenan Steiner; Lindsay Young; Nancy Watzman

    Sunlight Foundation (Washington, D.C.)

    2012