New England Muckrakers

Notable investigative stories from newspapers, websites and TV and radio newsrooms in the six New England states plus “Citizen Muckraker” reports.

Recent Posts

Inside the Fed: Secret Recordings and a Culture Clash

After the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed hired Carmen Segarra and placed her inside Goldman Sachs, one of the "too-big-to-fail" banks central to the crisis. She was an examiner: paid by the Fed to supervise what was going on inside the financial behemoth. She was fired after a few months. She claimed she was fired for refusing to back down from a negative finding about Goldman and unsuccessfully tried to sue. From the story:

"At the bottom of a document filed in the case, however, her lawyer disclosed a stunning fact: Segarra had made a series of audio recordings while at the New York Fed. Continue Reading →

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Serving Connecticut’s Veterans

This spring, as news broke across the country about long wait times and mistreatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the CT Mirror decided to explore the situation at home. They've published their findings in a multimedia series that explores what veterans face in Connecticut. Explore the investigation with the CT Mirror.  Continue Reading →

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Unseen Toll: Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts

Photo via ProPublica

 

Kevin Evans, 58, was hit hard by the recession in 2009.  Despite selling his home, he was left with $7,000 worth of credit card debt. But Evans worked hard.  He got a new customer service job, and it paid pretty well.  What he didn't know was his credit card lender was taking 25 percent of his wages and putting it toward his debt, which had grown to $15,000. Continue Reading →

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Hollywood’s Vaccine Wars: L.A.’s “Entitled” Westsiders Behind City’s Epidemic

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

There's a growing epidemic in Los Angeles--more and more kids are contracting pertussis, or "whooping cough," and the measles.  The reason?  Wealthy parents are opting not to vaccinate their children.  As rates of whooping cough increase in these affluent areas, the number of kids receiving immunizations is dropping. From the story: "An examination by The Hollywood Reporter of immunization records submitted to the state by educational facilities suggests that wealthy Westside kids — particularly those attending exclusive, entertainment-industry-favored child care centers, preschools and kindergartens — are far more likely to get sick (and potentially infect their siblings and playmates) than other kids in L.A. The reason is at once painfully simple and utterly complex: More parents in this demographic are choosing not to vaccinate their children as medical experts advise." Continue Reading →

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Who’s behind the Chinese takeover of the world’s biggest pork producer?

 

One year ago, a Chinese company bought Smithfield Foods. To date, the $4.7 billion deal is the biggest Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company in history. From the story: "The deal came two years after China's communist government issued an edict directing its food industry to scour the globe in search of agricultural resources, prompting concerns about the government’s role in the takeover." The Center for Investigative Reporting spent months examining the deal. The results of their investigation aired in a two-part broadcast on PBS NewsHour. Continue Reading →

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Need to reach a DSS worker? Can you hold for 78 minutes?

The average wait time to speak to a Connecticut Department of Social Services worker on the phone was one hour and eighteen minutes in August. Seventy-one percent of people who wanted to speak to a DSS worker hung up before their call was answered.  

From the story:  "More than a year after DSS launched the new call centers as part of a broad “modernization” effort, people who use the system say reaching a worker remains unacceptably difficult. The long wait times are especially problematic, DSS clients and advocates say, because many poor people rely on cellphones with limited minutes that can quickly get sapped if they need to call the department." Read the full story at CT Mirror. Continue Reading →

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Latino workers die at higher rates in job accidents

  Latino workers are increasingly taking on the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs in American society--and they're paying for it with their lives. Los Angeles-based investigative nonprofit Fair Warning took a look at recently released numbers that showed that Latino workplace fatality rates exceeded those of other races. From the story: "Safety experts point to reluctance among many Latino workers, particularly immigrants, to protest job hazards. They commonly attribute the reluctance to language barriers or fears that complaining about working conditions will cost them their jobs or even lead to deportation." Read the full story at Fair Warning Continue Reading →

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Asylum seekers living
 in limbo in Maine

Hundreds of asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa live in Maine's major cities.  These men and women live in limbo: they are undocumented, but protected from deportation.  However, they cannot work until after they have resided in the United States for at least six months. Maine is now embroiled in a political battle led by Gov. Paul LePage to stop state-funded welfare for asylum seekers. From the story:

"Citing a 1996 federal welfare-reform law that restricts assistance to undocumented immigrants, LePage vowed to withhold reimbursements to communities that continue to provide state funds to such non-citizens through a program known as General Assistance. Continue Reading →

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How aggressive police take millions from motorists not charged with crimes

Over three decades ago, at the height of the war on drugs, the government began practicing asset forfeiture. Basically, a police officer can take money or property from you, even if you've never been charged with a crime, and it's up to you to prove that you legally acquired it. Since 9/11, a rise in aggressive policing has led to hundreds of millions being seized on America's roads from motorists who have never been charged with a crime. And cash-strapped law enforcement departments are reliant on that cash for funding. From the story: "A thriving subculture of road officers on the network now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network’s chat rooms and sharing “trophy shots” of money and drugs. Continue Reading →

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Foreign Powers Buy Influence At D.C. Think Tanks

In Washington D.C., lawmakers, government officials and the news media rely on think tanks to provide policy analysis and scholarship. These think tanks are supposedly independent, but a new investigation by the New York Times shows that more than a dozen prominent groups have accepted tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments. From the story: "The money is increasingly transforming the once-staid think-tank world into a muscular arm of foreign governments’ lobbying in Washington. And it has set off troubling questions about intellectual freedom: Some scholars say they have been pressured to reach conclusions friendly to the government financing the research." Read the full investigation at the New York Times. Continue Reading →

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