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December 20, 2014
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Tag: Propublica


How Nonprofit Hospitals Are Seizing Patients’ Wages

One Missouri hospital has sued thousands of uninsured patients who couldn’t pay for their care, then grabbed a hefty portion of their paychecks to cover the bills. “We will be paying them off until we die,” one debtor said.

Posted on Dec 20, 2014 READ MORE



NY State Official Raises Alarm on Charter Schools — And Gets Ignored

A top official in the New York State Comptroller’s Office has urged regulators to require more transparency on charter-school finances. The response has been, well, nonexistent.

Posted on Dec 17, 2014 READ MORE



Who’s Afraid of Occupy Wall Street? Apparently, the Red Cross

Red Cross responders say there was a ban on working with the widely praised Occupy Sandy relief group because it was seen as politically unpalatable.

Posted on Dec 15, 2014 READ MORE



Has the Red Cross Been Misleading Donors About Where Their Dollars Are Going?

The American Red Cross regularly touts how responsible it is with donors’ money.

Posted on Dec 6, 2014 READ MORE



Los Angeles and New York Pin Down School Kids and Then Say It Never Happened

All school districts in the country are required to tell the federal government how many times kids have been restrained in their schools. But some districts aren’t following through.

Posted on Dec 3, 2014 READ MORE



Two Extreme Anti-Abortion Amendments Bite the Dust

An abortion measure in North Dakota that had raised concern among opponents about in vitro fertilization and end-of-life care failed after being 17 points up in polls.

Posted on Nov 6, 2014 READ MORE



‘Abortion Wars’ Continue as Midterm Debate in North Dakota Expands to In Vitro and End-of-Life Care

Money and strategists are shaping a nationally watched campaign amid talk of in vitro fertilization and end-of-life care.

Posted on Nov 4, 2014 READ MORE



A Case Study in the Perverse Incentives Tobacco Bonds Create

A central tenet of government finance is that money borrowed over the long term should be spent on projects that will outlast the debt – things like buildings, bridges or other essential infrastructure. That’s not what upstate New York’s Niagara County did with much of its money from tobacco bonds.

Posted on Oct 25, 2014 READ MORE



The Best Investigations of Money in Politics Since the Last Elections

With this year’s elections just two weeks away, ProPublica has rounded up some of the best investigative reporting on campaign finance.

Posted on Oct 22, 2014 READ MORE



Visions of America / Shutterstock.com

The Next Attorney General Should Make Presidential Pardons Less Racist, at the Very Least

More than two years ago, a ProPublica series showed that white applicants were far more likely to receive clemency than comparable applicants who were black. Since then, the government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a study, but the pardons system remains unchanged.

Posted on Oct 18, 2014 READ MORE



Just How Closely Do the NSA and U.S. Companies Work Together?

Documents describe “contractual relationships” between NSA and U.S. companies, as well as undercover operatives at some U.S. companies.

Posted on Oct 16, 2014 READ MORE



How a Businessman Funnels Public Education Funds for Charter Schools Into Private Companies

Baker Mitchell is a politically connected North Carolina businessman who celebrates the power of the free market. Every year, millions of public education dollars flow through Mitchell’s chain of four nonprofit charter schools to for-profit companies he controls.

Posted on Oct 15, 2014 READ MORE



Here’s Proof That Police Kill Black Males at a Far Higher Rate Than Their White Counterparts

A ProPublica analysis of killings by police shows outsize risk for young black males.

Posted on Oct 13, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Dollars for Dudes: Almost No Women Among Medical Industry’s Top-Paid Speakers

The causes are not clear, but men account for more than 90 percent of the 300 doctors who received the most money from drug and medical device companies, according to new federal data.

Posted on Oct 8, 2014 READ MORE



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How Much of Your Data Would You Trade for a Free Cookie?

In a highly unscientific but delicious experiment last weekend, 380 New Yorkers gave up sensitive personal information—from fingerprints to partial Social Security numbers—for a cookie.

Posted on Oct 1, 2014 READ MORE



Oil and Gas Companies Are Rigging Wages and Cheating Their Workers

U.S. Department of Labor investigations have uncovered hundreds of cases in which oil and gas workers, many involved in dangerous jobs, are being cheated of earnings.

Posted on Sep 27, 2014 READ MORE



How Much Control Does Goldman Sachs Have Over the Federal Reserve?

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.

Posted on Sep 26, 2014 READ MORE



Did the Assault Weapons Ban Really Work as Sen. Dianne Feinstein Claims?

The senator says “the evidence is clear: the ban worked.” Except there’s no evidence it saved lives—and the researcher behind the key statistic Feinstein cites says it’s an outdated figure that was based on a false assumption.

Posted on Sep 25, 2014 READ MORE



Stanford Promises Not to Use Google Money for Privacy Research

Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society has long received funding from Google, but a filing shows the university recently pledged to use the money only for non-privacy research. Academics say such promises are problematic.

Posted on Sep 24, 2014 READ MORE



A New Way Insurers Are Shifting Costs to the Sick

By charging higher prices for generic drugs that treat certain illnesses, health insurers may be violating the spirit of the Affordable Care Act, which bans discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions.

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 READ MORE



Weak Laws Offer Debtors Little Protection and Allow Collectors to Seize a Fourth of Their Wages

Critics say the 1968 federal law that allows collectors to take 25 percent of debtors’ wages, or every penny in their bank accounts, is out of date and overly harsh.

Posted on Sep 16, 2014 READ MORE



Why Gun Control Groups Have Moved Away From an Assault Weapons Ban

A decade after the ban expired, gun control groups say that focusing on other policies will save more American lives.

Posted on Sep 10, 2014 READ MORE



U.S. Company Helps Russia Block Prominent Putin Critic

The U.S. blogging company LiveJournal is showing an error message to users inside Russia who try to read the blog of Alexei Navalny, a prominent politician and critic of the Russian government.

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 READ MORE



The Best Reporting on California’s Drought

This year may be the driest in California in half a millennium. These reports explore how the drought is affecting agriculture, business and living conditions in the nation’s most populous state.

Posted on Aug 26, 2014 READ MORE



In California, Some Efforts to Toughen Oversight of Assisted Living Falter

Cost concerns may derail efforts by lawmakers and advocates to require more frequent inspections and a swifter response to allegations of abuse and neglect.

Posted on Aug 25, 2014 READ MORE



Paying Jabbar Collins $10 Million Doesn’t Address Problems With Prosecutors

A wrongly convicted Brooklyn man will receive millions in compensation from New York City, but that doesn’t address the broader lack of consequences when prosecutors abuse their power.

Posted on Aug 21, 2014 READ MORE



The Best Reporting on Federal Push to Militarize Local Police

A few facts you might have missed about the flow of military equipment and tactics to local law enforcement.

Posted on Aug 20, 2014 READ MORE



a katz / Shutterstock.com

What to Look for in Dueling Autopsies of Michael Brown

In the next few weeks, separate teams of doctors will issue autopsy reports about Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. If history is any guide, they will differ, perhaps significantly, on how to interpret the gunshot wounds on his body.

Posted on Aug 18, 2014 READ MORE



Why Is the Cuomo Administration Automatically Deleting State Employees’ Emails?

A previously unpublished memo raises new questions about New York state’s policy of purging emails after 90 days.

Posted on Aug 13, 2014 READ MORE



Federal Investigators Crack Down on Two Virginia Schools’ Use of Restraints

Investigators found that children were being regularly pinned down or isolated and that their education was suffering as a result.

Posted on Aug 12, 2014 READ MORE



Leaked Docs Show Spyware Used to Snoop on U.S. Computers

Software created by the controversial U.K. based Gamma Group International was used to spy on computers that appear to be located in the United States.

Posted on Aug 9, 2014 READ MORE



How Wall Street Tobacco Deals Left States With Billions in Toxic Debt

Politicians wanted upfront cash from a legal victory over Big Tobacco, and bankers happily obliged. The price? A handful of states promised to repay $64 billion on just $3 billion advanced.

Posted on Aug 9, 2014 READ MORE



Mike Kalasnik (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Senators Push for Investigation of USA Discounters’ ‘Aggressive’ Tactics

The Defense Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are urged to see whether service members are able to defend themselves against lawsuits while on active duty.

Posted on Aug 7, 2014 READ MORE



Pro-Troop Charity Misleads Donors While Lining Political Consultants’ Pockets

Move America Forward has collected millions to send care packages to U.S. troops. But its appeals often rely on images and stories borrowed without permission, and its assets have been used to benefit political consulting firms and PACs.

Posted on Aug 6, 2014 READ MORE



Suspicious Prescriptions for HIV Drugs Abound in Medicare

The inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finds Medicare spent tens of millions of dollars in 2012 for HIV drugs there’s little evidence patients needed. A 77-year-old woman with no record of HIV got $33,500 of medication.

Posted on Aug 6, 2014 READ MORE



Lobbyists Bidding to Block Government Regs Set Sights on Secretive White House Office

When Washington lobbyists fail to derail regulations proposed by federal agencies, they often find a receptive ear within the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an arm of the White House Office of Management and Budget that conducts much of its business in secret.

Posted on Aug 2, 2014 READ MORE



Report Criticizes EPA Oversight of Injection Wells

The Government Accountability Office says environmental regulators are failing to adequately enforce rules for wells used to dispose of toxic waste from drilling.

Posted on Jul 31, 2014 READ MORE



Campus Sexual Assault: What Are Colleges Doing Wrong?

We’ve rounded up cases and coverage that show the persistence of sexual violence at colleges.

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 READ MORE



Thank You for Your Service: How One Company Sues Soldiers Worldwide

With stores near military bases across the country, the retailer USA Discounters offers easy credit to service members. But when those loans go bad, the company uses the local courts near its Virginia headquarters to file suits by the thousands.

Posted on Jul 26, 2014 READ MORE



Shutterstock

Under Water: The EPA’s Struggle to Combat Pollution

For years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been frustrated in its efforts to pursue hundreds of cases of water pollution — repeatedly tied up in legal fights about exactly what bodies of water it has the authority to monitor and protect.

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 READ MORE



Even After Open Enrollment, Activity Remains Unexpectedly High on Federal Health Insurance Exchange

New federal data, obtained by ProPublica under the Freedom of Information Act, shows nearly 1 million insurance transactions since mid-April.

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 READ MORE



Meryl Ko (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Meet the Online Tracking Device That Is Virtually Impossible to Block

A new kind of tracking tool, canvas fingerprinting, is being used to follow visitors to thousands of top websites, from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn.

Posted on Jul 22, 2014 READ MORE



California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning It May Be Contaminating Aquifers

The state’s drought has forced farmers to rely on groundwater, even as California aquifers have been intentionally polluted due to exemptions for oil industry.

Posted on Jul 19, 2014 READ MORE



Who Advised Cuomo on Mortgage Industry Investigation? A Mortgage Lobbyist

Howard Glaser was brought on to help then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo on his mortgage industry investigation. Glaser was working for the industry at the same time.

Posted on Jul 17, 2014 READ MORE



In Desegregation Case, Judge Blasts School Officials and Justice Department

A federal judge in Alabama says a local school board has failed to meet legal mandate to integrate.

Posted on Jul 16, 2014 READ MORE



Why Are Obstetricians Among the Top Billers for Group Psychotherapy in Illinois?

Illinois leads the country in group psychotherapy sessions in Medicare, and some top billers aren’t mental health specialists. The state’s Medicaid program has cracked down, but federal officials have not.

Posted on Jul 15, 2014 READ MORE



Fanny Pack Mixup Unravels Massive Medicare Fraud Scheme

Two secretaries in a doctor’s office have pleaded guilty and a pharmacy owner faces charges in a scam that Medicare allowed to thrive for more than two years.

Posted on Jul 12, 2014 READ MORE



Pentagon Report Finds Litany of Problems With Effort to Recover MIAs

A draft inspector general report found that the mission lacks basic metrics for how to do the job—and when to end it.

Posted on Jul 12, 2014 READ MORE



Umberto Salvagnin (CC BY 2.0)

Sugar Plant Removed Safety Device 13 Days Before Temp Worker Buried Alive

Janio Salinas was buried alive in sugar. A newly released accident report and an undercover investigation by Univision reveal the obstacles OSHA faces in its temp worker safety initiative.

Posted on Jul 8, 2014 READ MORE



Garry Wilmore (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Pentagon Finally Decides to Dig Up Remains of Long Lost Soldier

After a ProPublica story, the military will exhume a grave in the Philippines that may hold the remains of Bud Kelder, an American POW whose family has long been fighting the Pentagon to get him home.

Posted on Jul 2, 2014 READ MORE


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