Regulation

Series

Polluter’s Paradise

Environmental Impact in Louisiana

The Bad Bet

How Illinois Bet on Video Gambling and Lost

Trashed

Inside New York’s Deadly Private Garbage Industry

Louisiana’s Ethical Swamp

Lawmakers’ Conflicts of Interest

HUD’s House of Cards

Public Housing Failures

The Tax Divide

Inequities and Errors Riddle Cook County’s Property Tax Assessments

Fed Tapes

The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra

Freddie Mac

Playing the Mortgage Market

Nuclear Safety

After Fukushima

The Trade

Hold Companies, Executives and Government Officials Accountable

Stories

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.

What Other States Can Learn From What Happened in Illinois After It Legalized Gambling

Attention: Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. Accel Entertainment became the largest video gambling operator in Illinois. Now it has its eyes on you.

Beginner’s Luck: How One Video Gambling Company Worked the Odds and Took Over a State

Funded in part by his wealthy family and aided by a personal connection at the Illinois Gaming Board, Andrew Rubenstein’s Accel Entertainment now owns a third of the state’s video gambling machines, making it the biggest video gambling operator in the nation.

Senators Call on Highway Administration to Finalize Car Seat Test Rules

Two senators, citing ProPublica’s reporting on the dangers of Evenflo’s booster seats, want NHTSA to finish rules that Congress mandated 20 years ago.

Utah Representative Proposes Bill to Stop Payday Lenders From Taking Bail Money from Borrowers

Debtors prisons were banned by Congress in 1833, but a ProPublica article that revealed the sweeping powers of high-interest lenders in Utah caught the attention of one legislator. Now, he’s trying to do something about it.

Do You Make, Test or Market Car Seats or Boosters?

Do you or did you work with any of the booster seat makers? How were they tested and marketed? We want to hear from you.

Evenflo, Maker of the “Big Kid” Booster Seat, Put Profits Over Child Safety

Internal video of side-impact tests shows that children could be injured or killed in Evenflo's “Big Kid” booster seats. But the company continued to market them as “side-impact tested.”

The Most Important Thing Every Parent Needs to Know About Car Seat Safety

ProPublica has published a report on how one booster seat maker put children at risk. For parents, here’s some of the most pressing information our reporters discovered during their investigation.

How Corporate Lawyers Made It Harder to Punish Companies That Destroy Electronic Evidence

Federal judges were penalizing big companies for destroying emails and other evidence. So the companies lobbied to have the rules changed. Since then, a ProPublica analysis shows, the rate at which judges issue penalties has fallen by more than half.

The IRS Decided to Get Tough Against Microsoft. Microsoft Got Tougher.

For years, the company has moved billions in profits to Puerto Rico to avoid taxes. When the IRS pushed it to pay, Microsoft protested that the agency wasn’t being nice. Then it aggressively fought back in court, lobbied Congress and changed the law.

The IRS Tried to Crack Down on Rich People Using an “Abusive” Tax Deduction. It Hasn’t Gone So Well.

The tax agency, Justice Department and Congress have all taken aim at a much-abused deduction exploited by wealthy investors. Yet the crackdown is having minimal impact, costing the Treasury billions.

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.

How Oil Companies Avoided Environmental Accountability After 10.8 Million Gallons Spilled

Louisiana still hasn’t finished investigating 540 oil spills after Hurricane Katrina. The state is likely leaving millions of dollars in remediation fines on the table — money that environmental groups say they need as storms get stronger.

In “Cancer Alley,” Toxic Polluters Face Little Oversight From Environmental Regulators

Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality has been accused of protecting the chemical industry it regulates. The agency is facing cutbacks as new plants are slated for communities that already have some of the country’s most toxic air.

How an Environmental Regulator Became Known for Protecting Industry

In the late 1980s, Louisiana’s governor made environmental protection a priority. He only lasted one term. Now, the state’s Department of Environmental Quality has a reputation for going easy on industry.

How McKinsey Makes Its Own Rules

The consulting giant, which likes to compare itself to the Marines and the Catholic Church, has a habit of disregarding rules and norms in its government work.

The Law Says She Should Have Been Protected From Birth. Instead, She Was Left in the Care of Her Drug-Addicted Mother, Who Killed Her.

Hundreds of thousands of children are abused or neglected in the U.S. each year, but only one federal law directly addresses this tragic reality for children not in state care. The law is routinely violated — with heartbreaking consequences.

The Price of America’s Inability to Track Child Deaths from Abuse and Neglect? Sometimes, More Lives.

Reliable statistics on deaths and near-deaths from abuse and neglect can help shape better policies to protect children. A new report shows the breadth of government failures to collect and report this information.

Recreational Marijuana Becomes Legal in Illinois on Jan. 1. Here’s How Communities Across the State Are Dealing With the New Law.

After some confusion, Chicago officials said residents who smoke marijuana in their backyard or on their balcony will not be arrested or ticketed.

Health Officials in “Cancer Alley” Will Study if Living Near a Controversial Chemical Plant Causes Cancer

Louisiana officials will knock on every door within 2.5 kilometers of the only plant in the country that emits chloroprene, which the EPA calls a likely carcinogen. An analysis said the airborne cancer risk near the plant was the highest in the nation.

YouTube Promised to Label State-Sponsored Videos But Doesn’t Always Do So

We found more than 50 government-funded channels from countries including Russia, Iran and the United States that the Google subsidiary failed to flag.

What Could Happen if a $9.4 Billion Chemical Plant Comes to “Cancer Alley”

In St. James Parish, Louisiana, a Taiwanese industrial giant seems likely to be granted a permit to build a billion-dollar plastics plant. Its proposed emissions could triple levels of cancer-causing chemicals in one of the most toxic areas of the U.S.

New EPA Rules Aim to Reduce Toxic Emissions. But Many “Cancer Alley” Chemical Plants Won’t Have to Change.

The proposed rules reducing emissions across the country would not apply to many of Louisiana’s chemical plants. These facilities release tons of dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals like ethylene oxide, and more plants are on the way.

Even Louisiana’s Wealthier Neighborhoods Can’t Escape Toxic Air in “Cancer Alley”

Industrial development usually targets poor communities, but Ascension Parish is one of the richest, and most toxic, places in Louisiana. Some residents say the financial benefits of living there outweigh the risks.

Welcome to “Cancer Alley,” Where Toxic Air Is About to Get Worse

Air quality has improved for decades across the U.S., but Louisiana is backsliding. Our analysis found that a crush of new industrial plants will increase concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals in predominantly black and poor communities.

I’ve Investigated Industrial Pollution for 35 Years. We’re Going Backwards.

Decades ago, Mark Schleifstein and his colleagues exposed environmental threats coming out of industrial plants all along the Louisiana section of the Mississippi River. A lot of those plants never went away, and even more are moving in.

How We Found New Chemical Plants Are Being Built in South Louisiana’s Most Polluted Areas

ProPublica and The Times-Picayune and The Advocate investigated the potential cancer-causing toxicity in the air. Using EPA data, public records requests and more, we found that some of the country’s most toxic air will likely get worse.

The Obscure Charges That Utility Companies Add to Your Bills

A New Jersey utility sparked outrage for charging customers to subsidize nuclear plants. We checked the bills. Turns out, that was just one of 16 lurking surcharges.

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

Using lobbying, the revolving door and “dark pattern” customer tricks, Intuit fended off the government’s attempts to make tax filing free and easy, and created its multi-billion-dollar franchise.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Asks Why the Justice Department Went Easy on Big Banks

After an article by ProPublica and American Banker examining how the DOJ softened settlements with RBS and Barclays, the presidential candidate blasts settlements that let banks “evade accountability.”

How a Video Gambling Company Helped Bankroll Local Politicians

And updates on the creation of new casinos around the state.

From Truck Stops to Elections, a River of Gambling Money Is Flooding Waukegan

Owners of one of Illinois’ largest video gambling companies are behind efforts to influence city politics, expand gambling and build a casino near land they control.

When Fracking Companies Own the Gas Beneath Your Land

Natural gas companies have cut down forests and paved over farms on West Virginia private lands, calling it “reasonably necessary” to access subsurface gas they own the rights to. A new ProPublica documentary chronicles the legal battles.

A Resolution Condemning Pipeline Challengers Passed Easily. A Pipeline Lobbyist Wrote It.

A Dominion Energy lobbyist drafted the resolution and bought meals for its supporters in West Virginia’s legislature. He says there’s nothing unusual about it. The public wasn’t told.

Fracking Companies Lost on Trespassing, but a Court Just Gave Them a Different Win

As conflicts continue between West Virginians and the state’s natural gas industry, complex legal cases are helping some residents, but not others.

Anatomy of the Gambling Bill

Illinois is going to dramatically expand gambling. Here’s the bill and what it means.

A False Answer, a Big Political Connection and $260 Million in Tax Breaks

Holtec International gave a false answer in a 2014 New Jersey tax break application connected to political boss George E. Norcross III, a Holtec board member. Five days after WNYC and ProPublica asked about it, lawyers called it “inadvertent” and asked the state to correct it.

How the IRS Gave Up Fighting Political Dark Money Groups

Six years after it was excoriated for allegedly targeting conservative organizations, the agency has largely given up on regulating an entire category of nonprofits. The result: More dark money gushes into the political system.

The IRS Tried to Take on the Ultrawealthy. It Didn’t Go Well.

Ten years ago, the tax agency formed a special team to unravel the complex tax-lowering strategies of the nation’s wealthiest people. But with big money — and Congress — arrayed against the team, it never had a chance.

How Has the “Crack Cocaine of Gambling” Affected Illinois? The State Hasn’t Bothered to Check.

Since video gambling went live in 2012, more than 30,000 video slot and poker machines have been installed in the state and gamblers have lost more than $5 billion. Yet Illinois has failed to address the issue of gambling addiction in any meaningful way.

Why Aren’t Hedge Funds Required to Fight Money Laundering?

A long-standing effort to make big investment funds abide by the same rules that banks and brokerages follow has bogged down. The fund industry says it supports the rules — it just has a few quibbles.

How Illinois Bet on Video Gambling and Lost

Lawmakers said legalizing video gambling would generate billions of dollars for the state. Instead, it’s proved to be little more than a money grab.

Do You Know Someone Struggling With Video Gambling? ​Help Us Understand Video Slot and Poker Addiction in Illinois.

More than 30,000 video gambling machines are scattered across Illinois, and gambling addiction appears to be on the rise.

How We Analyzed Video Gambling in Illinois

Here’s how we conducted an in-depth look at the rapid expansion of video gambling in the state and its financial and social costs.

Trump’s Dark Deregulation

Passing legislation and rolling back regulatory rules are hard. There are quieter, easier ways to cut down on governmental oversight. Here are five ways the Trump administration is doing so.

Watchdog Group Calls for Reform to Cook County Assessor’s Office

Pressure continues to mount for greater transparency and oversight of the office.

Lawsuit Targets Berrios Over Unfair, Error-Riddled Assessments

Attorneys are asking a judge to force Berrios to adopt reforms and are seeking a monitor to oversee the process.

How the Cook County Assessor Failed Taxpayers

Joseph Berrios' error-ridden commercial and industrial assessments punish property owners, benefit lawyers.

How We Analyzed Commercial and Industrial Property Assessments in Chicago and Cook County

An in-depth analysis of hundreds of thousands of property tax records under Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

These Professors Make More Than a Thousand Bucks an Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers

The economists are leveraging their academic prestige with secret reports justifying corporate concentration. Their predictions are often wrong and consumers pay the price.

The American Way

President Obama promised to fight corporate concentration. Eight years later, the airline industry is dominated by just four companies. And you’re paying for it.

Fire Fight

Far outside DC, there’s a campaign finance fight taking place over fire safety. And it’s putting families at risk.

The Fire Sprinkler War, State by State

From New York to Minnesota, how homebuilders headed off mandatory fire sprinklers with help from friendly legislators.

How Philanthropist David Rubenstein Helped Save a Tax Break Billionaires Love

A private equity mogul lauded for patriotic donations has quietly worked to protect one source of his wealth — the carried-interest loophole.

Inside the New York Fed: Secret Recordings and a Culture Clash

A confidential report and a fired examiner’s hidden recorder penetrate the cloistered world of Wall Street’s top regulator — and its history of deference to banks.

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