Journalism in the Public Interest

Billionaire Tax Breaks, A Military Rape Trial 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.

The Patriot: How Philanthropist David Rubenstein Helped Save a Tax Break Billionaires Love, ProPublica

David Rubenstein is known around political circles as the "perfect good guy," thanks in large part to his patriotic philanthropy. Among his recent gifts, Rubenstein helped restore the Washington and Lincoln Monuments, and bought a 713-year-old copy of the Magna Carta that he loaned to the National Archives. But his generosity may have also helped keep the carried interest tax loophole open for some of the richest Americans.

A Marine's Convictions, The Washington Post

A Naval Academy instructor said he was "railroaded" during a military investigation of alleged rape. The combat veteran was sentenced to two months in military prison, his career nearly ruined. But then, he won a dramatic vindication. Was his a case of military misconduct or flawed justice?

The corrosive dangers lurking in private wells, Reuters

Private wells are the primary source of water for nearly 50 million Americans. But only two states require that wells be tested for lead. After examining private well systems in Virginia and Pennsylvania, Virginia Tech and Penn State researchers found that, if their rates hold, "more than 9 million Americans served by private wells would have unsafe levels of lead in their water."

Without support, Minnesota students left behind at graduation, MPR

Minority students in Minnesota schools have a lower chance of completing high school than in nearly any other state, according to this Minnesota Public Radio investigation. And these schools already spend less money than any other state on the kind of support that might help the students.

Tim Atkins Was Wrongfully Imprisoned for 23 Years—Why Is California Denying Him Compensation?, The Nation

Across the United States, inmates exonerated of crimes have fewer benefits than convicted felons. California is one of 30 states that currently offers any kind of compensation to the wrongfully convicted, but it's still difficult. For Tim Atkins, who spent nearly half his life in prison for a crime he didn't commit, that process — and a prosecutor from a county "which has sent a disproportionately large number of people to death row" — has led to two denied payment claims.

Foreign Trade: Is there a link between booking tours and landing recruits?, Sports Illustrated

College basketball teams have a long history of taking off-season trips overseas. In fact, the tours date back to 1965 when Saint Joseph's University players and coaches traveled through South America on a diplomatic tour. But as the trips have become privatized, a special relationship between several Division I programs, a Spanish tour booking agency, and a private basketball academy in the Canary Islands has emerged. This is a look at how deep that relationship goes.

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