James Bandler

Reporter

Photo of James Bandler

James Bandler is a reporter at ProPublica. He covers business and finance, with coverage areas that include corporate investigations, resource extraction industries and defense procurement.

James has been a reporter at Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and the Rutland Herald-Barre Times Argus newspapers.

At the Wall Street Journal, Bandler was a co-author of “The Perfect Payday,” a 2006 investigation that exposed the widespread practice of backdating stock options by business executives. The series, produced by a team of reporters, led to the paper’s first Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, as well as criminal prosecutions, massive fines and disgorgements. It also forced dozens of companies to issue corrected financial statements and remove more than 70 senior executives, including the CEO of UnitedHealth Group.

Bandler’s work at the Journal also included stories on a global price-fixing ring in the chemical shipping industry, an exposé on the criminal life of Wal-Mart’s vice chairman, and stories on accounting fraud at Xerox Corp. As editor-at-large at Fortune, he produced in-depth pieces on a con-artist who swindled Fortune 500 companies, the collapse of AIG, the fall of IBM Corp.’s CEO heir-apparent in an insider-trading scandal, the travails of Hewlett-Packard, and a Gerald Loeb Award-winning story on Bernie Madoff.

James can be reached on WhatsApp and Signal at 929-317-9345 and at [email protected].

House Bill Would Blow Up the Massive IRAs of the Superwealthy

The proposed reform stems from a ProPublica story that detailed how PayPal founder Peter Thiel had amassed $5 billion, tax-free, in a Roth IRA. If the bill passes, Roth accounts would be capped at $20 million for high-income individuals.

The Number of People With IRAs Worth $5 Million or More Has Tripled, Congress Says

After ProPublica revealed that some wealthy Americans hold Roth IRAs worth hundreds of millions — compared to $39,000 for the average account holder — Democrats requested data. It shows more than 28,000 people with IRAs worth $5 million or more.

Campaign to Rein in Mega IRA Tax Shelters Gains Steam in Congress Following ProPublica Report

One proposal would ban the kinds of transactions that helped Peter Thiel amass $5 billion in his Roth; another would cap how much could be saved tax-free in these retirement accounts. But two unrelated bills could undermine those efforts.

The Ultrawealthy Have Hijacked Roth IRAs. The Senate Finance Chair Is Eyeing a Crackdown.

Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said he planned to rein in tax breaks for gargantuan Roth retirement accounts after ProPublica exposed how the superrich used them to shield their fortunes from taxes

Lord of the Roths: How Tech Mogul Peter Thiel Turned a Retirement Account for the Middle Class Into a $5 Billion Tax-Free Piggy Bank

Roth IRAs were intended to help average working Americans save, but IRS records show Thiel and other ultrawealthy investors have used them to amass vast untaxed fortunes.

CDC Shut Down a Lab Involved in Making Faulty Coronavirus Tests

A CDC lab involved in making faulty coronavirus tests sent to state and local officials early in the pandemic was closed down hours after an October investigation by ProPublica exposed key mistakes the CDC made in manufacturing those tests.

The Justice Department Sues Walmart, Accusing It of Illegally Dispensing Opioids

Two years after the Trump administration walked away from charging Walmart criminally for its role in the opioid crisis, the DOJ is back, making the same claims but seeking softer penalties.

Inside the Fall of the CDC

How the world’s greatest public health organization was brought to its knees by a virus, the president and the capitulation of its own leaders, causing damage that could last much longer than the coronavirus.

Inside the Trump Administration’s Decision to Leave the World Health Organization

Despite Trump’s declared exit from the WHO, officials continued working toward reforms and to prevent withdrawal. This week, they were told they must justify any cooperation with the WHO on the grounds of national security and public health safety.

Inside the Union Where Coronavirus Put 98% of Members Out of Work

Unite Here was a rare union success story. But then the coronavirus decimated the restaurant, food service and hotel industries, where most of its 307,000 members work. “We’re fighting for our survival,” its president told ProPublica.

Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.

Even as company pharmacists protested, Walmart kept filling suspicious prescriptions, stoking the country’s opioid epidemic. A Republican U.S. Attorney in Texas thought the evidence was damning. Trump’s political appointees? Not so much.

Inside Documents Show How Amazon Chose Speed Over Safety in Building Its Delivery Network

Amazon ignored or dismissed safety concerns about its delivery network to prioritize speed and explosive growth, according to new documents and interviews with insiders.

Senator Demands Answers From Amazon on Delivery Crashes and Contract Drivers

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, citing a ProPublica investigation, blasts Amazon for “evasive practices and moves to cut regulatory corners.”

How Amazon and Silicon Valley Seduced the Pentagon

Tech moguls like Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt have gotten unprecedented access to the Pentagon. And one whistleblower who raised flags has paid the price.

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