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What a Leading State Auditor Says About Fraud, Government Misspending and Building Public Trust

We spoke to a leading state auditor about how remote work and artificial intelligence are ushering in new kinds of fraud in state and local governments.

Reporting From the Northwest

Our Northwest hub covers Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Oregon. The six-person reporting team includes three Local Reporting Network Distinguished Fellows and is committed to partnering with local media.

What Idaho’s Republican Primary Tells Us About America’s Culture Wars

The heavily Republican state booted 15 incumbents across the party’s ideological spectrum. While the election led to net gains for hard-line members of the right, it also underscores how divided Idaho’s party remains.

State of Disrepair

After Decades, Voters Finally OK Replacement for Crumbling Idaho School

The vote follows a yearlong investigation by the Idaho Statesman and ProPublica into how the state’s restrictive funding policies left students studying in deteriorating buildings across the state.

The Cutting

An Oregon Bill to Cut Millions in Timber Taxes Is Dead, Despite Backing by the Industry, the Governor and a Top Lawmaker

The legislation aimed to reformulate how Oregon funds the rising costs of fighting wildfires. It sparked debate within the Democratic-controlled Legislature about who should pay: taxpayers or big timber owners, who won steep tax cuts in the 1990s.

Northwest News Staff

Northwest Editor
Steve Suo
Reporters
Rob Davis, Audrey Dutton and McKenzie Funk
Local Reporting Network Distinguished Fellows
Kyle Hopkins, Lulu Ramadan and Tony Schick
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Local Reporting Network Partners

ProPublica is supporting local and regional newsrooms as they work on important investigative projects affecting their communities. Some of our past and present partners in the region:

Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage, Alaska
High Country News
Multi-state
Idaho Statesman
Boise, Idaho
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Portland, Oregon
The Seattle Times
Seattle, Washington

Nike Pledged to Shrink Its Carbon Footprint. It Just Slashed the Staff Charged With Making That Happen.

Since December, Nike has lost about 30% of employees who worked primarily on sustainability initiatives, due to layoffs, voluntary departures or transfers to other duties. Already, the company was missing its targets for reducing emissions.

In a Push for Green Energy, One Federal Agency Made Tribes an Offer They Had to Refuse

The Yakama Nation wanted to consult on the development of a project on sacred land. But when the tribal nation refused to disclose confidential information, the agency moved forward without tribal input.

The Federal Government Just Acknowledged the Harm Its Dams Have Caused Tribes. Here’s What It Left Out.

The Biden administration said officials historically gave “little, if any, consideration” to impacts on tribal fishing.

Three States Have Warned Against Sending Students to an Unregulated Boarding School for Youth With Autism

After visiting Shrub Oak International School, officials from Connecticut, Washington and Massachusetts have advised districts of troubling conditions at the school where a ProPublica investigation uncovered reports of abuse and neglect.

This School for Autistic Youth Can Cost $573,200 a Year. It Operates With Little Oversight, and Students Have Suffered.

No state agency has authority over Shrub Oak, one of the country's most expensive therapeutic boarding schools. As a result, parents and staff have nowhere to report bruised students and medication mix-ups.

The Influential Conservative Group Making it Harder for Idaho Districts to Fix Their Schools

The Idaho Freedom Foundation has gone beyond the education culture wars by targeting local bond and levy elections, which districts rely on heavily to build and repair schools.

Idaho Legislature Approves $2 Billion for Schools to Repair and Replace Aging Buildings

The funding was pledged by Gov. Brad Little after an Idaho Statesman and ProPublica investigation showed students learning in poor conditions. Educators say it’s only a start to fixing decades-old problems.

“It Feels Impossible to Stay”: The U.S. Needs Wildland Firefighters More Than Ever, but the Federal Government Is Losing Them

Highly skilled firefighters are the last line of defense against wildfires, but that line is fraying because the government decided long ago that they’re not worth very much.

Listen to the “Timber Wars Season 2: Salmon Wars” Podcast

“Salmon Wars,” produced by ProPublica and OPB, tells the story of one Yakama Nation family who has spent generations fighting for salmon. The series uncovers who is to blame for the fish vanishing and why their disappearance affects all of us.

A Seattle Airfield Offers a Rare View of ICE Deportation Flights

Key details about what happens inside ICE Air would still be hidden if not for a group of Washington activists and researchers, who are now using a live video feed from the tarmac to document the flights.

Republicans Hatched a Secret Assault on the Voting Rights Act in Washington State

After he helped create the state’s voting maps, a redistricting commissioner quietly worked with national Republican figures to bring a lawsuit against his own work.

Iditarod Disqualifies Former Champion After Sexual Assault Allegations

The Iditarod board voted unanimously on Thursday to disqualify former champion Brent Sass after allegations made in November and recent questions from Alaska Public Media, the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica. Sass has denied the claims.

Idaho Resolution Would Aim to Lower Voting Threshold to Pass School Bonds

Under restrictive school funding policies, Idaho districts struggle to repair and replace deteriorating buildings. If voters agree, the proposal would, in some elections, reduce the two-thirds threshold needed to pass bonds for school repairs.

Oregon’s Drug Decriminalization Aimed to Make Cops a Gateway to Rehab, Not Jail. State Leaders Failed to Make It Work.

Just over three years since Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 110, elected officials want to repeal key elements, blaming the law for open drug use and soaring overdoses. But it’s their own hands-off approach that isn’t working, advocates say.

Idaho Legislature Takes Up Bill to Help School Districts Repair and Replace Buildings

The bill would provide $1.5 billion in new funding in a state where communities have struggled to pass bonds even as some students learn in freezing and overcrowded classrooms with leaky ceilings and discolored drinking water.

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    Inside Ziklag, the Secret Organization of Wealthy Christians Trying to Sway the Election and Change the Country

    The little-known charity is backed by famous conservative donors, including the families behind Hobby Lobby and Uline. It’s spending millions to make a big political push for this election — but it may be violating the law.

    School Vouchers Were Supposed to Save Taxpayer Money. Instead They Blew a Massive Hole in Arizona’s Budget.

    Arizona, the model for voucher programs across the country, has spent so much money paying private schoolers’ tuition that it’s now facing hundreds of millions in budget cuts to critical state programs and projects.

    Waiting on Paychecks

    In New York, Wage Theft Violators Get Millions in Government Contracts

    ProPublica and Documented identified 25 employers that, despite histories of wage theft, have received contracts worth more than a collective $500 million from city and state agencies since 2018.

    Local Reporting Network

    Even When Big Cases Intersect With Their Families’ Interests, Many Judges Choose Not to Recuse

    Ambiguous — and unenforced — recusal standards mean few checks and balances for top judges when cases involve their family members.

    A Closer Look

    Trump Built a National Debt So Big That It’ll Weigh Down the Economy for Years

    The “King of Debt” promised to reduce the national debt — then his tax cuts made it surge. Add in the pandemic, and he oversaw the third-biggest deficit increase of any president.