Impact

Journalism in the Public Interest

Impact has been at the core of ProPublica’s mission since we launched in 2008, and it remains the principal yardstick for our success today. Our investigative journalism does more than expose wrongdoing and injustice; we intend for it to spark real-world change.

We’ve written a whole white paper on the topic, and examples of how our stories have produced such change — from the resignation of corrupt officials to the passage of new laws — are compiled in our annual reports. On this page, you’ll find our reporting on the impact of our work.

Featured Impact

Senate Investigation Criticizes the IRS for Failing to Oversee Free Filing Program

Millions of Americans have spent billions on TurboTax and other tax prep that they shouldn’t have. The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations recommends the IRS advertise the free filing option.

Sen. Burr Faces DOJ Investigation for Selling a Fortune in Stocks Right Before the Market Crashed

The investigation comes after ProPublica reported that the North Carolina lawmaker unloaded a significant portion of his total stock holdings before the coronavirus sell-off in the stock market.

The Trump Administration Is Backing Out of a $647 Million Ventilator Deal After ProPublica Investigated the Price

The government overpaid by hundreds of millions for Philips ventilators, says a House investigation spurred by ProPublica reporting. Now that deal is off and Congress is scrutinizing other coronavirus deals made by trade adviser Peter Navarro.

Grace, Black Teen Jailed for Not Doing Her Online Coursework, Is Released

Grace’s story, first published by ProPublica Illinois, prompted outrage and debate across the country. Though a judge refused to set the girl free, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered her immediate release from a juvenile detention facility in Detroit.

More Impact

After NYPD Found “No Wrongdoing” in Officer’s Killing of Kawaski Trawick, a Watchdog Finds Fireable Offenses

New York City’s police oversight agency brought disciplinary charges against the officer who killed Kawaski Trawick. While the NYPD found no wrongdoing, ProPublica published footage showing it was the cops who escalated the situation.

After Grace’s Story, Michigan Will Study Its Juvenile Justice System

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed a task force to examine the state’s juvenile justice system and recommend reforms after a Black teen was jailed for not doing her online coursework.

Oregon House Moves to Curb Forest Institute’s Power and Budget

After our investigation found that a tax-funded institute acted as a lobbying arm for the timber industry, Oregon lawmakers passed a bill that would significantly cut the institute’s funding and redirect the money to climate science.

Following a DUI Arrest, Maine Defense Lawyer Banned From Representing Defendants

For nearly two weeks after her arrest, a Maine lawyer continued to be contracted by a state agency with a record of mismanagement to serve as legal counsel for Maine’s poorest residents.

We Reported on How California Rarely Cracks Down on Oil Companies. Now Regulators Have Fined One Company $1.5 Million.

After years of lax enforcement, California regulators slapped hefty fines on an oil company for nearly 600 violations. But concerns remain whether that penalty will ever be paid.

Illinois Dramatically Limits Use of Seclusion and Face-Down Restraints in Schools

A new bill will ban school workers from locking children in seclusion spaces and limit most uses of isolated timeout and physical restraint. A ProPublica and Chicago Tribune investigation found widespread abuse of the practices in Illinois.

An Online Lender Gave Hundreds of PPP Loans to Fake Farms. Now Congress Is Investigating.

A House committee has opened a probe into loans by Kabbage and other fintech companies after ProPublica reported that millions had gone to businesses that do not exist.

Missouri Lawmakers Approve Reforms to Controversial Clean-Energy Loan Program

Lawmakers approve consumer protections and oversight to PACE loans that have disproportionately burdened borrowers in Black neighborhoods.

Clean-Energy Loans Trapped Black Homeowners in Debt. The Legislature Just Started Trying to Fix the Problem.

Lawmakers in Missouri are exploring ways to rein in the state’s clean-energy loan program, which ProPublica found disproportionately harms Black homeowners.

Florida Program to Aid Brain-Damaged Infants Publicly Embraces Reforms It Once Fought

While the executive director of the Florida program has sent a letter to families saying they will get more benefits and “services you have long deserved,” some parents ask why NICA waited until lawmakers insisted before embracing reform.

Kushner Companies Violated Multiple Laws in Massive Tenant Dispute, Judge Rules

Judge finds Kushner-owned management company charged "deceptive" fees to thousands of tenants, in lawsuit filed after ProPublica found widespread problems in their apartments.

Florida Lawmakers Send Lifeline to Families With Brain-Damaged Children

After a series of investigative articles by the Miami Herald and ProPublica, the Florida Legislature passed a host of reforms to a state-run program for children born with catastrophic brain injuries.

Florida Lawmakers Endorse Wide-Ranging Reforms in Program to Aid Brain-Damaged Babies

Bills in the Florida House and Senate would increase benefits for families of brain-damaged babies, add parental representation to the program’s board and create an ombudsman, following investigative stories by the Miami Herald and ProPublica.

The Federal Government Will Now Give PPP Loans to Borrowers in Bankruptcy

Thousands of companies working their way out of bankruptcy are now eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program after ProPublica reported that the Small Business Administration had been excluding them.

Florida Plans Audit of Program That Blocks Parents of Brain-Damaged Newborns From Suing

Officials called for reforms hours after an investigation by the Miami Herald and ProPublica identified gaps in a Florida program that strips families of their right to sue when births go horribly wrong.

New York City Kills COVID Rule That Led to Repeated School Closings Despite No Evidence of Outbreaks

Last week ProPublica cited epidemiologists saying New York was “crazy” to keep closing schools over two unlinked positive cases. This week, the city ended the rule.

The City That Pinned Its Renewal on a Self-Chilling Beverage Can Wants Its Money Back

A company promised to create 237 jobs making the first ever self-chilling beverage can, winning big public subsidies in return. Four years later, there are no jobs and you still put your beer in the fridge. The city may demand the subsidies back.

Documents Show Trump Officials Skirted Rules to Reward Politically Connected and Untested Firms With Huge Pandemic Contracts

House Democrats investigating the COVID-19 response say Trump adviser Peter Navarro pressured agencies to award deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The Ball Was Dropped by All”: How Cops Got More Than $400,000 in Unlawful Sick Day Payouts

Records in 25 New Jersey towns show that police officers took annual payments for unused sick days despite a law forbidding the practice. The payments add up to nearly half a million dollars from 2017 through 2019. The cops may have to pay it back.

California Sent $8 Billion to Counties to Improve Jails and Services But Failed to Track the Money, Says Auditor

The audit, requested following a surge of jail deaths reported on by The Sacramento Bee and ProPublica, found that county and state officials failed to adequately account for billions in spending.

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