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Judge Doesn’t ‘Think’ Police are Abusing Spy Technology, and More in MuckReads

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email? Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

Tobacco Settlement Funds Sprinklers, Golf Carts and a Grease Trap

In Niagara County, N.Y., leaders took on 40-year debt to pay for short-term stuff, a case study in the perverse incentives tobacco bonds create.

The Millions New York Counties Coulda Got

New York counties were promised annual payments from tobacco companies as part of a national settlement to reimburse them for smoking-related health care costs. Some made deals to get up front cash instead of long term payments. Here's what they gave up.

How One New York County Fell Into the Tobacco Debt Trap

A refinance of Niagara County’s tobacco bonds was good news — but for investors, not taxpayers.

How We Analyzed New York County Tobacco Bonds

Users can see how interest rates and declining cigarette sales affect the bottom line for counties that borrowed against income from the landmark tobacco settlement.

The Big Bank Backlash Begins

The Best Investigative Reporting on Campaign Finance Since 2012

From dark money to a mysterious super PAC donor, here are a few of the best investigations of money in politics since the last elections.

Podcast: When U.S. Companies Help the NSA

Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson on blurring borders in an Internet age and the tension between national security and personal privacy.

Why The Poor Pay $1,400 for Old iPads and More in MuckReads Weekly

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email? Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

For the Next Attorney General, a Modest Suggestion: Fix Presidential Pardons

More than two years ago, a ProPublica series showed that white applicants were far more likely to receive clemency than comparable applicants who were black. Since then, the government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a study, but the pardons system remains unchanged.

NSA Documents Suggest a Close Working Relationship Between NSA, U.S. Companies

Documents describe "contractual relationships" between NSA and U.S. companies, as well as undercover operatives at some U.S. companies.

Charter School Power Broker Turns Public Education Into Private Profits

Baker Mitchell is a politically connected North Carolina businessman who celebrates the power of the free-market. Every year, millions of public education dollars flow through Mitchell’s chain of four nonprofit charter schools to for-profit companies he controls.

In Wisconsin, Dark Money Got a Mining Company What It Wanted

An accidentally released court filing reveals how one company secretly gave money to a nonprofit that helped get favorable mining legislation passed.

Podcast: The Racial Disparity in Fatal Police Shootings

The FBI's data on fatal police shootings has its flaws but it illustrates an undeniable truth: black teens have an outsize risk of being shot and killed by law enforcement.

Private Donors Supply Spy Gear to Cops

There's little public scrutiny when private donors pay to give police controversial technology and weapons. Sometimes, companies are donors to the same foundations that purchase their products for police.

The DEA’s Facebook Impersonator and More in MuckReads Weekly

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email? Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

Deadly Force, in Black and White

A ProPublica analysis of killings by police shows outsize risk for young black males.

This Alabama Judge Has Figured Out How to Dismantle Roe v. Wade

Tom Parker’s writings fuel the biggest threat to abortion rights in a generation.

The Personhood Movement

Where the personhood movement came from and where it stands today.

What Military Families Need to Know About High-Cost Lenders

We have been reporting on military lenders for over a year. Here's what you need to know about these high-cost lenders.

October 2014

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