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Investigations You Need to Read: Wednesday

Today in accountability news:

  • In the first two months of 2010, fines paid to the U.S. as penalties for corporate corruption overseas have already doubled what they were in 2009, reports Time, as the Justice Department increasingly cracks down on foreign bribery.
  • USA Today reports that the West Virginia mine that collapsed on Monday, killing at least 25 miners, has the "worst safety record of any underground coal mine in its county."
  • Tougher mining laws, passed in 2006, were meant to crack down on mines found to have dangerous conditions, but mining companies have fought back with appeals to their violations, thwarting accountability efforts and putting workers at risk, according to The New York Times.
  • GM -- and the government -- have long known that its pickup trucks were prone to exploding into flames during side-impact crashes, according to FairWarning. At least 100 people have died by fire since federal regulators "dropped an investigation that could have led to the trucks' recall." GM continues to defend the safety record of its trucks.
  • The FDA is still lagging at regulating food safety, reports The Washington Post. The number of enforcement actions taken by the FDA based on inspections has fallen by more than half from 2004 to 2008. Agency officials say both staffing and resources are lacking.
  • The Washington Post reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission's effort to remake itself as a tough enforcer is facing setbacks and skepticism from within the agency, as well as from the courts.
  • The Associated Press reports that scammers have been taking advantage of the new health care law by selling phony health insurance policies. The Department of Health and Human Services is warning consumers not to be duped.

These stories are part of our ongoing roundup of investigations from other news outlets. For more, visit our Investigations Elsewhere page.

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