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Our Investigations

The Prescribers

Never-before-released government prescription records shows that some doctors and other health professionals across the country prescribe large quantities of drugs known to be potentially harmful, disorienting or addictive for their patients. And officials have done little to detect or deter these hazardous prescribing patterns.

33 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Government Releases Massive Trove of Data on Doctors’ Prescribing Patterns

Tobacco Debt

A landmark 1998 settlement with Big Tobacco awarded states billions of dollars a year to offset the health-care costs of smoking. What seemed like a boon become a debt trap for many state and local governments when they used it to promise investors billions in the future in exchange for cash advances.

12 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Another Big Tobacco Bond Deal, Cajun Style

Insult to Injury

Driven by big business and insurers, states nationwide are dismantling workers’ compensation, slashing benefits to injured workers and making it more difficult for them to get care. Meanwhile employers are paying the lowest rates for workers’ comp insurance since the 1970s.

12 Stories in the Series. Latest:

California Bill Would Bar Insurers from Withdrawing Injured Workers' Care

Level 14

How a home for troubled children came undone and what it means for California’s chance at reform.

5 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Investigations of California Group Homes Marked By Delays and Uncertainty

Policing Patient Privacy

ProPublica is exploring how patient privacy violations are affecting patients and the medical care they receive.

7 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Health Data Breaches Sow Confusion, Frustration

The Etan Patz Case

The disappearance of a 6-year-old New York boy has mystified and frustrated police for decades. Today, the boy’s alleged killer is on trial in a case that could solve the mystery or be the latest example of misjudgment by prosecutors.

10 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Decades Later, a Routine Police Record Hangs Over Patz Murder Trial

Presidential Pardons

White criminals seeking presidential pardons are nearly four times as likely to succeed as people of color, a ProPublica examination has found.

34 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Prolific Pardoner? Obama Grants Clemency to 22 Prisoners This Week, But Has Denied Thousands

Debt Inc.

Payday loans represent only one part of a high-cost lending industry that targets lower income consumers, trapping many in deep debt. When regulators and lawmakers try to crack down, lenders tweak their products to get around the law.

13 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Let The Game of Whack-A-Mole Begin: Feds Put Forward New Payday Rules

Fed Tapes

A confidential report and a fired examiner’s hidden recorder penetrate the cloistered world of Wall Street’s top regulator — and its history of deference to some of the country’s biggest banks.

17 Stories in the Series. Latest:

What We Still Don’t Know About the Fed’s Leak Investigation

Fracking

Vast deposits of natural gas have brought a drilling boom across much of the country, but the technique being used, called hydraulic fracturing, is suspected of causing hundreds of cases of water contamination. Now environmentalists and lawmakers are pushing for closer oversight of the gas industry, which is pushing back.

161 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Progress and Controversy Arrive With New Rules for Fracking on Public Lands

Firestone and the Warlord

In the first detailed examination of the relationship between Firestone and Liberian warlord Charles Taylor, this ProPublica/Frontline investigation lays bare the role of a global corporation in a brutal African conflict.

13 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Union Buried Evidence of Firestone Support of Warlord After Labor Deal

Restraints

Do you know a child who has been forcibly restrained or secluded at school? Help us investigate by sharing your story.

10 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Washington Legislature Moves to Limit Schools Pinning Down and Isolating Kids

Segregation Now

Investigating America’s racial divide in education, housing and beyond.

29 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Yes, Black America Fears the Police. Here’s Why.

Patient Safety

More than 1 million patients suffer harm each year while being treated in the U.S. health care system. Even more receive substandard care or costly overtreatment. Our ongoing investigation of patient safety features in-depth reporting, discussion and tools for patients.

51 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Alleged Patient Safety Kickbacks Lead To $1 Million Settlement

Evaluating Charter Schools

ProPublica is exploring how this new model of schooling has raised questions about public transparency and private profits.

Red Cross

After Superstorm Sandy, Americans opened their wallets to the Red Cross. They trusted the charity and believed it was up to the job. They were wrong.

14 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Red Cross Demands Corrections to Our 'Misleading' Coverage. Here's Our Response

Dragnets

ProPublica investigates the threats to privacy in an era of cellphones, data mining and cyberwar, including how citizens are digitally tracked by governments and corporations.

62 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Internet Censorship in China: We’ll Sing it for You

The Detention Dilemma

Big questions remain about the fates of the men whom the United States still holds prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. The evidence in many cases is tainted because it was obtained through harsh interrogations, and officials say some prisoners will be held indefinitely because they are too difficult to prosecute and too dangerous to release.

68 Stories in the Series. Latest:

U.S. Acknowledges Conviction of David Hicks, Guantanamo Detainee, Should Not Stand

Failing the Fallen

Investigating the Pentagon’s failing efforts to timely recover and ID those missing in action from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

9 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Pentagon Finally Identifies the Remains of a POW Lost Since 1942

Dollars for Doctors

ProPublica is tracking the financial ties between doctors and medical companies.

63 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Why Pharma Payments to Doctors Were So Hard to Parse

Unforgiven

The way lenders and collectors pursue consumer debt has undergone an aggressive transformation in America. Collectors today don’t give up easy, often pursuing debts for years. It’s now routine for companies to sue debtors, then seize their wages or the cash in their bank accounts. For many people, these changes have profoundly affected their lives.

13 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Senator to Hospitals: Stop Suing Poor Patients

Sex and Gender

ProPublica’s Nina Martin reporting on American systems and institutions — from schools to hospitals to prisons — that fail or mistreat people on the basis of their gender or sexuality.

14 Stories in the Series. Latest:

7 Reproductive Rights Issues to Watch in 2015

Temp Land

Temp employment is climbing to record levels following the Great Recession. The system benefits brand-name companies but harms American workers through lost wages, high injury rates, few if any benefits, and little opportunity for advancement.

15 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Illinois Revokes License of Temp Agency Check Cashing Store

Buying Your Vote

A series of court rulings led to the creation of super PACs and an influx of “dark money” into politics, fundamentally changing how elections work. ProPublica is following the money and exploring campaign issues you won’t read about elsewhere.

121 Stories in the Series. Latest:

New IRS Rules on Dark Money Likely Won't Be Ready Before 2016 Election

Guns

We’re investigating the policy, politics and players around guns in America.

19 Stories in the Series. Latest:

The Best Reporting on PTSD in Children Exposed to Violence

Dispatches from Freedom Summer

In 1964, whites and blacks joined to, as some put it, drag Mississippi back into the United States. Violence erupted. Lives were lost. But change was wrought, too.

10 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Keep on Pushing

Examining Medicare

A closer look at the services delivered by providers in Medicare’s Part B program—and the money they collect.

10 Stories in the Series. Latest:

The Obscure Drug With a Growing Medicare Tab

Injection Wells

Injection wells used to dispose of the nation’s most toxic waste are showing increasing signs of stress as regulatory oversight falls short and scientific assumptions prove flawed.

11 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Report Criticizes EPA Oversight of Injection Wells

Obamacare and You

The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, is the most significant health care overhaul in a generation. It seeks to decrease the number of people without health insurance and reform industry business practices. But the law’s rollout has been marred by glitches and political opposition. ProPublica’s Charles Ornstein has been tracking its implementation.

51 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Even After Open Enrollment, Activity Remains Unexpectedly High on Federal Health Insurance Exchange

Internships

The number of internships in the United States has ballooned over the past few decades. But oversight and legal protection for unpaid interns hasn’t kept up.

22 Stories in the Series. Latest:

What We Learned Investigating Unpaid Internships

Out of Order

The innocent can wind up in prison. The guilty can be set free. But New York City prosecutors who withhold evidence, tolerate false testimony or commit other abuses almost never see their careers damaged.

21 Stories in the Series. Latest:

New York State to Pay Millions in Wrongful Conviction Case

College Debt

Total outstanding college debt is estimated at $1 trillion dollars – and with costs still soaring, the burden on students and their families shows no signs of abating. We’re examining how the complicated system of college debt is putting the squeeze on families.

21 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Q&A: Elizabeth Warren on Spiraling Student Debt and What Should Be Done About It

The Wall Street Money Machine

As investors left the housing market in the run-up to the meltdown, Wall Street sliced up and repackaged troubled assets based on those shaky mortgages, often buying those new packages themselves. That created fake demand, hid the banks’ real exposure, increased their bonuses — and ultimately made the mortgage crisis worse.

44 Stories in the Series. Latest:

The Rise of Corporate Impunity

Post Mortem

A year-long investigation into the nation’s 2,300 coroner and medical examiner offices uncovered a deeply dysfunctional system that quite literally buries its mistakes.

30 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Shake-Up Inside Forensic Credentialing Org

Overdose

About 150 Americans a year die by accidentally taking too much acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. The toll does not have to be so high.

10 Stories in the Series. Latest:

FDA Opens Review of Rules for Over-the-Counter Drugs, Including Acetaminophen

Life and Death in Assisted Living

More and more elderly Americans are choosing to spend their later years in assisted living facilities. But is this loosely regulated, multi-billion dollar industry putting seniors at risk?

12 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Assisted Living Giant Is Focus of Federal Probe

Finding Oscar

In 1982 amid Guatemala’s civil war, 20 army commandos invaded Dos Erres disguised as rebels. The squad members, or Kaibiles, killed more than 250 people. Only a handful survived. One, a 3-year-old boy, was abducted by a Kaibil officer and raised by his family. It took 30 years for Oscar Alfredo Ramírez Castañeda to learn the truth.

13 Stories in the Series. Latest:

A Commander of the Dos Erres Massacre Squad Gets 10 Years in Prison

After the Flood

More than 8 million Americans live in high-risk flood areas, and the number is expected to climb sharply as the climate changes. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, ProPublica is investigating the government’s response to disasters, and how coastal communities build and rebuild despite the threat.

10 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Sharpening the Government’s Blurry Maps

Law and Disorder

In the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, NOPD officers shot 11 civilians, five of whom died. Criminal cases have now been brought against some officers, and the federal government is investigating the actions of the police department, which conducted only cursory inquiries into the deadly use of force.

65 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Another Setback in Federal Investigation of New Orleans Police

The Drone War

U.S. counterterror operations have stretched beyond al-Qaida and the war in Afghanistan, with hundreds of drone strikes occurring in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. But many aspects of the effort are shrouded in secrecy – including casualty counts, who exactly the U.S. is targeting, and the administration’s legal justifications for the war.

15 Stories in the Series. Latest:

6 Months After Obama Promised to Divulge More on Drones, Here’s What We Still Don’t Know

Lost to History

Military leaders botched the job of recordkeeping in two of our most-protracted wars, robbing historians of firsthand accounts of the fighting and making it harder for veterans to prove combat injuries or heroics, a ProPublica-SeattleTimes investigation found.

8 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Army Says War Records Gap Is Real, Launches Recovery Effort

Foreclosure Crisis

Systemic failures at the country’s banks and mortgage servicers have exacerbated the most severe foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression, making it extremely difficult for struggling homeowners to win a loan modification. Government efforts to limit the damage have fallen woefully short.

160 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Bank of America Lied to Homeowners and Rewarded Foreclosures, Former Employees Say

Pakistan’s Terror Connections

Ten Pakistani militants killed 166 people at multiple sites in Mumbai, India in 2008 in a three-day attack. The investigation centered on one of the most significant and mysterious figures to surface in a U.S. terror prosecution: David Coleman Headley.

31 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Terror Group Recruits From Pakistan’s 'Best and Brightest'

Omniscan

General Electric is in a liability fight over a rare disease that has been linked to dyes used in MRIs. Nearly all cases of the disease, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, have involved people with kidney problems who used the dyes, but GE says there is no proof that its product, Omniscan, causes the crippling illness.

15 Stories in the Series. Latest:

GE Failed to Adequately Warn about Dangers of its MRI Dye, Jury Finds

Redistricting

Opaque redistricting groups are being quietly bankrolled by corporations, unions and others to influence redistricting. They aim to help political allies—and in the process they’re hurting voters.

20 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Five Ways Courts Say Texas Discriminated Against Black and Latino Voters

Disposable Army

The U.S. war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan has relied heavily on civilian workers, to transport supplies, protect diplomats and other tasks. Though these contractors suffer the same physical and mental scars as troops, they return home without the same support network, often having to fight with insurers for the care they need.

37 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Iraq War Contractor Fined for Late Reports of 30 Casualties

Body Scanners

The Transportation Security Administration plans to install body scanners at nearly every airport security lane in the country by the end of 2014. Scientists have objected to one type of scanner because it uses X-rays which increase the risk of cancer. In an effort to detect explosives hidden under clothing, is the TSA jeopardizing passenger safety?

21 Stories in the Series. Latest:

TSA Removes X-Ray Body Scanners from Airports

Tainted Drywall

Foul air from Chinese-made drywall is causing a nightmare for thousands of homeowners, who have complained about severe respiratory ailments and corroded electronics. Several companies that handled the drywall knew there was a problem for two years but didn’t warn consumers or regulators.

34 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Home Builders Lobby Weakens Drywall Legislation

Freddie Mac

The taxpayer-owned mortgage giant made investments that profited if borrowers stayed stuck in high-interest loans while making it harder for them to get out of those loans.

12 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Unraveling the Freddie-Fannie Tangle

Nursing Homes

Our Nursing Home Inspect tool allows anyone to easily search and analyze the details of recent nursing home inspections, as well as penalties imposed on each home over the past three years.

9 Stories in the Series. Latest:

Two Deaths, Wildly Different Penalties: The Big Disparities in Nursing Home Oversight

The Magnetar Trade: How One Hedge Fund Helped Keep the Bubble Going

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