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Top MuckReads: Mosque Surveillance and Bain’s Political Preferences

The top investigative or accountability journalism from Feb. 3-10.

Here are this week's top must-read stories from #MuckReads, ProPublica's ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and just including the hashtag #MuckReads or by sending an email to [email protected]. The best submissions are selected by ProPublica's editors and reporters and then featured on our site and @ProPublica.

Secret document shows NYPD targeting Shiite mosques for surveillance, Associated Press

A 2006 internal New York Police Department report recommended increasing surveillance of Shiite Muslims and their mosques, based solely on religion, as a way to sweep for Iranian terrorists. The NYPD says it was just a contingency plan in case of war with Iran. (The AP report suggests it wasn’t just a contingency plan.)   

Contributed by @peishanhoe

Mapping the earmarks, The Washington Post

Thirty-three members of Congress have helped direct more than $300 million in earmarks to dozens of public projects near real estate owned by the lawmakers or their family members. This Post interactive maps their influence.

Contributed by @tdetz

Bain execs spent nearly $5 million on Romney’s White House runs, The Center for Public Integrity

Current and former executives at Bain Capital and their relatives have given about $4.7 million to support Mitt Romney’s presidential ambitions. They started pouring in money as early as 2004, before Romney was officially a candidate. As The Center for Public Integrity notes, Bain has also spent millions lobbying for financial regulations and tax benefits.

Contributed by @DafnaLinzer

Leveling the field: What I learned from for-profit education, Harper’s Magazine

Almost three-fifths of students at for-profit colleges drop out without a degree within a year. One Harper’s editor enrolled in the University of Phoenix to see why there’s such trouble.

Contributed by @ericuman

Hospitals mine patient records in search of customers, USA Today, Kaiser Health News

Some hospitals are using patients' health and financial records to help pitch pricey care to customers with high-paying private insurance. As the hospitals point out, the tactics are perfectly legal.

Contributed by @CharlesOrnstein

Media gain access to L.A. County children’s courts, Los Angeles Times

An L.A. judge ordered that children’s court proceedings be open to the press, which he argues will bring accountability. But social workers, elected officials and others are worried that the order overreaches and intrudes on the privacy of children who have already suffered mistreatment.

Contributed by @shelbygrad

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