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

The Supreme Court Has Adopted a Conduct Code, but Who Will Enforce It?

Experts say it is unclear if the new rules, which come after reporting by ProPublica and others revealed that justices had repeatedly failed to disclose gifts and travel from wealthy donors, would address the issues raised by the recent revelations.

Dozens of Museums and Universities Pledge to Return Native American Remains. Few Have Funded the Effort.

Reporting from nearly 50 local newsrooms, based on ProPublica’s “Repatriation Project,” has sparked a wave of apologies and commitment to returning ancestral remains. But without funding for the work tribal nations could still face empty promises.

Texas Legislature Closes Gun Background Check Loophole

State lawmakers passed a bill requiring courts to report involuntary mental health hospitalizations of juveniles for inclusion in the federal gun background check system. The law closes a gap revealed by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune in 2022.

Legislation to Support Stillbirth Prevention Heads to House After Unanimous Senate Approval

Following ProPublica’s reporting on the nation’s stillbirth crisis, a bipartisan group of senators reintroduced a bill to fund prevention. After the Senate passed the legislation unanimously in September, the House is expected to take it up next.

More Impact

Some Museums Scrambled to Remove Native American Items From Display. These Museums Didn’t Need to.

Under new repatriation rules, museums must gain consent from Native American tribes before displaying their cultural items. Some museums rushed to comply, but others, such as the Museum of Us and History Colorado, were prepared to meet the moment.

After Seeing Controversial Contract-for-Deed Home Sales Affect Constituents, Minnesota Lawmakers Propose Reforms

The state legislators said the home deals had harmed members of the Somali community in and around the Twin Cities. Some buyers have lost their homes.

The DOJ Is Working With a Wisconsin Sheriff to Improve How Deputies Communicate With People Who Don’t Speak English

A ProPublica investigation in Wisconsin’s Dane County revealed how a grammatical mistake in Spanish led sheriff’s deputies to wrongly blame a Nicaraguan dairy worker for his son’s death.

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.

Proposed Wage Theft Legislation Would Strip Violators of Their Ability to Do Business in New York

“We did not have the data to understand the scale of the issue in New York State until the ProPublica and Documented series came out last year,” state Sen. Jessica Ramos said.

Senate Investigation “Casts Fresh Doubt” About the Validity of Harlan Crow’s Yacht Tax Deductions

In their extensive probe, Senate investigators found evidence to suggest Crow has made repeated misrepresentations to the U.S. government. ProPublica revealed the tax maneuvers in a previous story.

Senator Urges Museums to Return Native Remains and Objects: “Give the Items Back. Comply With Federal Law. Hurry.”

In a Senate floor speech that centered America’s colonial history, Brian Schatz said institutions have a moral obligation to comply with federal repatriation law. He demanded urgent action.

The Oregon Timber Industry Won Huge Tax Cuts in the 1990s. Now It May Get Another Break Thanks to a Top Lawmaker.

As the cost of fighting wildfires increases, state Sen. Elizabeth Steiner has proposed a bill — developed in consultation with the logging industry — that would shift millions in expenses away from the biggest landowners and onto taxpayers.

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Reform Controversial Contract-for-Deed Home Sales

Proposed legislation follows a ProPublica and Sahan Journal report that revealed questionable real estate transactions that left members of Minnesota’s Somali and Hispanic immigrant communities at risk of losing their homes.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Vows to Increase Staffing at Clinic Tied to Two Deadly Shootings

The Northern California clinic was the focus of a recent ProPublica investigation into inadequate mental health care. Over the course of three days, two veterans who’d been unable to get consistent treatment at the facility fatally shot their mothers.

Task Force to Consider “Restorative Justice” for Black Families Uprooted by Virginia University’s Expansion

Spurred by our “Uprooted” series, a task force created by the city of Newport News and Christopher Newport University will reexamine decades of city and university records shedding light on a Black neighborhood’s destruction.

Amid Recall Crisis, Philips Agrees to Stop Selling Sleep Apnea Machines in the United States

The breathing machine manufacturer has faced relentless criticism over its handling of the 2021 recall of millions of devices. Philips must meet the requirements outlined in an agreement with the Justice Department before it can resume sales.

The American Museum of Natural History to Close Exhibits Displaying Native American Belongings

The change is in response to new federal regulations that went into effect this month following reporting by ProPublica on institutional failures to return Native American remains and sacred objects to tribes.

Medicare Certifies Hospices in California Despite State Ban on New Licenses

The agency has rolled out sweeping changes to target end-of-life care providers that were billing for unneeded services, but some fraud hot spots continue to evade scrutiny.

“We Buy Ugly Houses” Company Overhauls Policies in the Wake of ProPublica Investigation

HomeVestors franchises will be required to provide prospective home sellers with a disclosure that includes a three-day window to terminate a sales contract.

FTC Orders Maker of TurboTax to Cease “Deceptive” Advertising

The federal agency, after an investigation prompted by ProPublica’s reporting, blasted Intuit for misleading customers about its “free” tax-filing program and directed the company to take specific steps to fix its ads.

FEMA Leader Overseeing $4 Billion Fund to Pay Victims of New Mexico Wildfire Steps Down

Longtime agency official Angela Gladwell has overseen the fund to pay victims of a wildfire accidentally started by the federal government. Her departure comes amid criticism of FEMA’s handling of payments for damages.

Congressional Watchdog Will Launch Inquiry Into FDA Oversight of Medical Device Recalls

Sens. Dick Durbin and Richard Blumenthal asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the regulatory agency, citing ProPublica and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on the 2021 recall of Philips breathing machines.

Idaho Governor Proposes $2 Billion in Funding for School Buildings Over Next 10 Years

Gov. Brad Little cited reporting by the Idaho Statesman and ProPublica as he laid out his plan for a massive infrastructure investment in the state’s public schools during Monday’s State of the State address.

Health Plans Can’t Dodge Paying for Expensive New Cancer Treatments, Says Michigan’s Top Insurance Regulator

After ProPublica reported on a health insurer that refused to cover the only medicine that could save a cancer patient’s life, Michigan insurance regulators clarified that, by law, many plans must pay for any clinically proven treatments.

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