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

EPA Takes Action to Combat Industrial Air Pollution

The EPA announced a raft of targeted actions and specific reforms including stepped-up air monitoring and scrutiny of industrial polluters in the wake of ProPublica’s investigation into toxic hot spots.

Intuit Will Pay Millions to Customers Tricked Into Paying for TurboTax

State attorneys general just reached a $141 million settlement with the Silicon Valley juggernaut. Victims will receive up to $90 each.

Tennessee Judge Who Illegally Jailed Children Plans to Retire, Will Not Seek Reelection

Since 2000, Judge Donna Scott Davenport has overseen juvenile justice in Rutherford County. Following reporting from Nashville Public Radio and ProPublica, public outcry and a bill seeking to oust the judge, Davenport announced her retirement.

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.

More Impact

Fintechs Made “Massive Profits” on PPP Loans and Sometimes Engaged in Fraud, House Committee Report Finds

An investigation that began after reporting by ProPublica finds lax anti-fraud standards, executives who cashed in for themselves and contempt for small loan applications that would generate minimal fees. “Delete them,” one executive wrote.

City Receives Half a Million Dollars for Air Monitoring After Report Reveals Elevated Cancer Risk

After years of resident complaints of toxic fumes and health issues, the EPA has funded Mississippi to conduct air monitoring in Pascagoula. This comes a year after a first-of-its-kind analysis by ProPublica into “sacrifice zones” across the country.

Department of Justice Opens Investigation Into Real Estate Tech Company Accused of Collusion with Landlords

The DOJ will examine whether RealPage helped landlords coordinate rent increases. Questions also swirl around a 2017 merger deal with its largest competitor.

Complaint Filed Against Mississippi Judge for Failing to Hand Over Search Warrants to Clerk

The judge has signed a number of no-knock search warrants that have been challenged in court, but they weren’t on file at the clerk’s office.

More Senate Democrats Seek Investigation of Tech Firm Accused of Colluding With Landlords to Hike Apartment Rents

Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other leading Democrats have asked the Department of Justice to examine Texas-based RealPage, which sells software to help landlords set apartment rental prices across the country.

A Florida Fund for Injured Kids Raided Medicaid. Now It’s Repaying $51 Million.

“The Medicaid program provides a safety net for our most vulnerable populations that do not have access to traditional healthcare coverage,” U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez said. “The misuse of Medicaid funds will not be tolerated.”

Pressure Grows on Real Estate Tech Company Accused of Colluding With Landlords to Jack Up Apartment Rents

RealPage has come under increasing fire from lawmakers and lawyers after ProPublica reported on its software’s potentially anti-competitive effects. Student housing is implicated.

Ohio Lawmakers Seek Strict Rules for “Clean Energy” Lending

A statewide clean-energy lending program in Ohio stalled last year before making any loans. Lawmakers want to add consumer protections in case the program resurfaces.

Senator Seeks Antitrust Review of Apartment Price-Setting Software

The chair of a Senate committee wants the Federal Trade Commission to examine software sold by Texas-based RealPage after a ProPublica investigation revealed possible collusion.

Colorado Suspends One Family Court Custody Expert, Reviews All Custody Evaluators Following ProPublica Investigation

A state-approved list of custody evaluators included some who had been accused of domestic violence and disciplined by the State Board of Psychologist Examiners.

How Google’s Ad Business Funds Disinformation Around the World

The largest-ever analysis of Google’s ad practices on non-English-language websites reveals how the tech giant makes disinformation profitable.

Nevada Governor Candidates Are Debating a ProPublica Investigation — but Not Always Accurately

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is fending off attacks from his Republican rival over his administration’s fast-tracking the license for a COVID-testing company with ties to a political donor.

Lawmakers and Public Health Advocates Call for Congress to Finally Ban Asbestos

A law blocking the use of asbestos, a potent carcinogen, would be harder to overturn than a similar ban being considered by the EPA, advocates say.

EPA Calls Out Environmental Racism in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley

In a “remarkable” letter, the EPA accused Louisiana regulators of neglecting Black residents’ concerns about toxic air pollution and urged the state to move kids out of a school where monitors found extreme levels of a cancer-causing chemical.

USDA Plans Major Reforms to Curb Salmonella in Poultry

An earlier ProPublica investigation showed that weak food safety protections have done little to stop Americans from getting sick from salmonella poisoning.

Justice Department Digs Into “Competition Concerns” in New England Fishing Industry

Responding to a ProPublica-New Bedford Light investigation, federal attorneys have interviewed fishermen’s groups about the growing power that private equity firms and foreign investors wield over the market.

Authorities Raid Alleged Cyberscam Compounds in Cambodia

Human traffickers who have forced workers to engage in investment scams that defrauded victims out of millions have been disrupted, at least temporarily. Meanwhile, Apple's app store has removed an app that frequently facilitated the frauds.

Judge Finds Sailor Not Guilty in Fire That Destroyed $1.2 Billion Navy Ship

Even though a separate Navy review found that 34 people, including five admirals, contributed to or directly led to the loss of the USS Bonhomme Richard, Ryan Mays is the only person to have faced a court-martial.

New Air Monitors Among Major Impacts of ProPublica Toxic Air Pollution Reporting

Communities identified as “Sacrifice Zones” in a ProPublica analysis of toxic air pollution scored major wins this month. In one, the EPA will start monitoring the air. In another, a judge withdrew permits from a giant petrochemical complex.

Kushner Company Agrees to Pay at Least $3.25 Million to Settle Claims of Shoddy Apartments and Rent Abuses

A Kushner subsidiary is settling a lawsuit that the state of Maryland filed after ProPublica reported widespread problems in thousands of the company’s Baltimore-area apartments.

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