Tags : politics

Database used to highlight lax police misconduct oversight

We knew early in our investigation of Long Island police misconduct that police officers had committed dozens of disturbing offenses, ranging from cops who shot unarmed people to those who lied to frame the innocent. We also knew that New York state has some of the weakest oversight in the country.

What we didn’t know was if anyone had ever tried to change that. We suspected that the legislature, which reaps millions in contributions from law enforcement unions, hadn’t passed an attempt to rein in cops in years. But we needed to know for sure, and missing even ...

Read more ...

Behind the Story: How the Chicago Sun-Times helped bring a nephew of Mayor Richard M. Daley to justice in a 10-year-old homicide

By Paul Saltzman, Chicago Sun-Times

On Jan. 31, 2014, a nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a death a decade earlier.

Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko admitted doing exactly what an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times had revealed in early 2011 he did — and what police and prosecutors had twice refused to charge him with doing:

Punching a much smaller man named David Koschman in a drunken encounter outside the late night bars on Division Street in Chicago’s Rush Street nightlife district. Knocking him to the ground with a single punch ...

Read more ...

Data shows congressional divide in Ohio

Ohio, like many others, is a highly gerrymandered state.

Although it’s a considered a swing state in presidential politics, the state’s congressional delegation, Ohio House and Senate are overwhelmingly Republican. In 2012, for example, President Barack Obama beat Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 3 percentage points, but three fourths of the state’s 16 congressional districts were won by Republican candidates.

That’s because the state Legislature draws the congressional districts in Ohio, and Republicans have been in charge since 1990. The Republicans packed as many Democratic voters as possible into four safe Democratic districts with large urban ...

Read more ...

Amid drug scandal, Toronto officials keep secret hundreds of emails

The Toronto Sun is appealing a decision by the City of Toronto to withhold hundreds of emails sent by staff members of beleaguered Mayor Rob Ford.

The paper requested copies of emails sent and received by Ford’s former senior staffers around the time the mayor’s crack video scandal broke last year.

From the Sun:

The city’s access and privacy division relied on 10 different clauses contained in access laws to sever the information from the request.

Those clauses were drawn from the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) and the City of Toronto ...

Read more ...

Sign up now for "Investigating Washington" Watchdog Workshop in D.C. in January

IRE is joining forces with The National Press Club to bring you a special Watchdog Workshop: Investigating Washington.

A stellar lineup of speakers will tackle a series of topics that will help you prepare for many of the key issues of 2014. Highlights include a national security session with James Bamford, Michael Isikoff and Josh Meyer, as well as sessions on investigating healthcare reform, Congress and more.

The workshop is Saturday, Jan. 11. Check out the schedule and other details and register here. And we'll be announcing a special evening meet-up to kick things off in the coming days.

Watch now: Google Hangout with Charles Lewis

Tune in to IRE's Google Hangout with Charles Lewis, an accomplished investigative reporter, producer and bestselling author who founded the non-profit investigative journalism group the Center for Public Integrity. Charles Lewis answered questions about campaign finance investigations, the future of nonprofit journalism and authoring investigative books.

If you have questions about Google Hangouts, please visit Google's information page. You can view previous IRE Hangouts, via our Online Training page.

Investigating political shenanigans

By Kolten Parker

Manny Garcia, of El Nuevo Herald, speaks during a panel entitled Investigating political shenanigans. Photo: Travis Hartman

Journalists eager to scoop political scandals should get out of the office and state house and into the bar.

A panel of three reporters with experience exposing political shenanigans shared advice and downplayed the notion that investigative stories always begin with an isolated journalist buried in chest-high stacks of financial reports.

Jay Root, a reporter for the Texas Tribune who followed Texas Governor Rick Perry on his failed presidential run last year, shared advice he was given as a young ...

Read more ...

Behind the Story: Tax forms and FEC filings reveal nonprofit's political activity

Learning about sources of political spending can be “like unpacking a Russian nesting doll,” says Michael Beckel, a politics reporter for the Center for Public Integrity.

Using tax filings as his primary source, Beckel investigated the third most politically-active nonprofit in 2012 as part of the Center for Public Integrity’s Consider the Source project.

 “In all, we examined records from the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Election Commission, Federal Communications Commission, the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office and the California Secretary of State’s office,”  Beckel said. The tax documents contained information the FEC filings didn’t have ...

Read more ...

Remembering journalist Richard Ben Cramer

Richard Ben Cramer, a journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 as a foreign correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer, died this week from complications of lung cancer. Cramer's writing career spanned politics and sports, and in addition to the Inquirer his work appeared in magazines such as Esquire and Rolling Stone. Cramer authored several books, including What It Takes: The Way to the White House, an in-depth look at the 1988 presidential election.

This week, IRE pulled a 1991 Esquire story by Richard Ben Cramer from its archives:

George Bush: How He Got Here
"A life of ease ...

Read more ...

Join a live discussion about Econocheck

NICAR adviser David Herzog will be on hand Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific) for a live Q&A about EconoCheck on the Journalism AcceleratorEconoCheck, an IRE-Sunlight Foundation resource launched during the 2012 campaign, helps reporters quickly find and understand data about key indicators. Drop by to discuss how journalists can continue to tap into it for post-election economic reporting and how we might improve it.

What do you think about the way EconoCheck presents tools and information? Please join us to share your experience and ask anything you want to know.