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

Facebook Won’t Let Employers, Landlords or Lenders Discriminate in Ads Anymore

The sweeping changes come two years after ProPublica’s reporting, which sparked lawsuits and widespread outrage.

IRS Reforms Free File Program, Drops Agreement Not to Compete With TurboTax

The changes come after ProPublica’s reporting showed how TurboTax maker Intuit tricked customers into paying for tax prep they could have gotten for free.

Illinois to Take Emergency Action to Halt Isolated Timeouts in Schools

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the practice of secluding children “appalling” and said he will work with legislators to end it.

We Reported on a Nonprofit Hospital System That Sues Poor Patients. It Just Freed Thousands From Debt.

After an investigation by MLK50 and ProPublica, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is erasing debt for unpaid hospital bills owed by more than 6,500 patients. Our reporting found the hospital had profited by aggressively pursuing patients who couldn’t pay.

More Impact

The Indian Health Service Wants to Return 1 Million KN95 Masks It Bought From a Former White House Official

The former official, Zach Fuentes, is refusing to take back the masks even though IHS said they did not meet FDA standards. His company’s lawyer says the IHS is trying to cancel the order for “political reasons.”

Stop Seizing Paychecks, Senators Write to Capital One and Other Debt Collectors

Wage garnishments ordered before the pandemic started have continued for many workers during the recession. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown have demanded an end to the practice.

A Hospital Was Accused of Racially Profiling Native American Women. Staff Said Administrators Impeded an Investigation.

Federal regulators are investigating a New Mexico hospital accused of racial profiling. This comes as hospital staff said administrators appeared to hide documents and discouraged cooperation with an initial state inquiry.

State Investigating Hospital With Coronavirus Policy That Profiled Pregnant Native American Mothers and Separated Them From Newborns

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham cited “significant, awful allegations” in a ProPublica and New Mexico In Depth story on a hospital where clinicians said pregnant Native women were singled out for COVID-19 testing and separated from newborns after delivery.

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.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Buddy Used His “Shadow” Sway Over the VA to Promote His Comic Book Empire

Marvel chief Ike Perlmutter arranged for comic book characters to ring the NYSE closing bell with the VA secretary in 2017, according to a new government audit. Perlmutter has denied benefiting from his role as an informal adviser to President Trump.

Contractors for Trump’s Controversial $3 Billion Food Aid Program Have Hired a Longtime Lobbyist to Tout Their Work

Lawmakers are asking why some federal contractors in Trump’s food aid program apparently lack qualifications to deliver the goods. Companies hired a consultant to tell positive stories.

COVID-19 Killed at Least 25 Residents of One Illinois Nursing Home. The Family of One Victim Has Filed a Lawsuit, Alleging Negligence.

The family of a Bria of Geneva resident who died from the coronavirus in April claims in the lawsuit that the nursing home failed to adequately test residents and staff, and didn’t isolate infected residents in time to protect others.

The State Attorney General Is Scrutinizing This Assisted Living Facility Over Its Handling of COVID-19. Some Residents Are Suing It, Too.

Coronavirus was infecting residents and staff of a Queens adult home, who told ProPublica management had misled them about its spread. Now, the New York attorney general is examining what happened and several residents are suing.

The Trump Administration Has Put Federal Workers at Coronavirus Risk, Senators Say

Citing ProPublica’s reporting, 22 Senate Democrats have asked the White House to explain its management of federal employee safety.

This Rural School District Has Been Asking for Wi-Fi for Years. Now It’s Finally Getting It.

An anonymous individual donated a dozen internet hotspots. A school district near Chicago is sending Chromebooks. And a superintendent in rural Illinois is stunned by the support to keep his students learning.

Congress Is Investigating Whether a Ventilator Company Is Gouging the U.S. — and Why the Government Is Letting It Happen

A congressional subcommittee is questioning a federal decision to pay quadruple the price for the commercial version of a ventilator Royal Philips N.V. had developed with taxpayer funds.

Attorney General Barr Refuses to Release 9/11 Documents to Families of the Victims

The move comes after President Donald Trump promised to help families, who accuse Saudi Arabia of complicity in the attacks. Barr says he cannot even explain why the material must stay secret without putting national security at risk.

Democratic Senators Demand Answers on Trump’s Secretive Border Expulsions

After ProPublica’s report, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee ask the Department of Homeland Security to explain why it thinks emergency powers granted to the CDC allow it to bypass existing asylum laws.

ER Staffing Company Reverses Benefits Cuts for Doctors and Nurses Fighting Coronavirus

Alteon Health rolled back cuts to vacation and retirement benefits for emergency room doctors and medical professionals after ProPublica’s reporting. Hours are still being reshuffled as non-coronavirus patients avoid the ER.

Illinois Quietly Reversed Its Ban on a Dangerous Physical Restraint for Students

After a ProPublica Illinois and Chicago Tribune investigation sparked a statewide ban on some forms of seclusion and restraint of students, a small group of schools lobbied against the measure. And it worked.

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.

“Now I Can Afford My Meds.” After Months of Appeals, Retiree’s Medicaid Benefits Are Restored.

South Carolina’s Medicaid agency abruptly and unexpectedly canceled Judith Persutti’s insurance in 2019, but reinstated it following a little-used appeals process.

The VA Will Now Let Some Administrative Staff Work From Home

After New Mexico In Depth and ProPublica reported that the VA was not allowing telework, the agency reversed course. Some workers remain skeptical that the policy will be implemented.

The Senator Who Dumped His Stocks Before the Coronavirus Crash Has Asked Ethics Officials for a “Complete Review”

After ProPublica’s report that Richard Burr dumped stocks after reassuring the public about coronavirus readiness, he said he welcomed an ethics investigation.

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