By CORA CURRIER/ProPublica Sept. 17, 2013 — The U.S. spent roughly $25 billion last year on what’s loosely known as security assistance — a term that can cover everything from training Afghan security forces to sending Egypt F-16 fighter jets to equipping Mexican port police with radiation scanners. The spending, which has soared in the […]
Documents obtained by ProPublica suggest the government coddled mortgage servicers in its flagship foreclosure prevention program despite frequent and serious errors.
A special inspection of U.S. nuclear plants after the Fukushima disaster in Japan revealed problems with emergency equipment and disaster procedures that are far more pervasive than publicly described by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. While the deficiencies don’t pose an immediate risk and are relatively easy to fix, critics say they could complicate the response to a major disaster and point to a weakness in NRC oversight. The findings include deficiencies at Plant Hatch and Plant Vogtle in Georgia.
By SHARONA COUNTS/ProPublica After being laid off from her job as a high school teacher in Dayton, Ohio, Nicole Massey decided to go back to college. For months, she scoured the Web for ways to fund her tuition, while supporting her 10-year-old son, Tyler. So when ads turned up in Massey’s inbox claiming that President […]
The military medical system is failing to diagnose brain injuries in troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom receive little or no treatment for lingering health problems, an investigation by ProPublica and NPR has found. Tens of thousands of troops with mild traumatic brain injuries have gone uncounted, according to unpublished military research obtained by ProPublica and NPR. “When someone’s missing a limb, you can see that,” said Sgt. William Fraas, a Bronze Star recipient. “When someone has a brain injury, you can’t see it, but it’s still serious.”
Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency are considering whether to bar BP from receiving government contracts, a move that would ultimately cost the company billions in revenue and could end its drilling in federally controlled oil fields. Over the past 10 years, BP has paid tens of millions of dollars in fines and been implicated in four separate instances of criminal misconduct that could have prompted this far more serious action. Until now, the company’s executives and their lawyers have fended off such a penalty by promising that BP would change its ways. That strategy may no longer work.
A whistleblower filed suit Monday to force the federal government to halt operations at another massive BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, alleging that BP never reviewed critical engineering designs for the operation and is therefore risking another catastrophic accident that could “dwarf” the company’s Deepwater Horizon spill. Former project control supervisor Kenneth Abbott alleged that BP never confirmed systems and equipment on the Atlantis platform were built as intended and didn’t properly file the documentation that functions as an instruction manual for rig workers in the case of a blowout or other emergency.
As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the White House are trying to minimize their differences, a brewing battle at OSHA over a workplace injury reporting rule illustrates how tough that could become given the administration’s pro-labor leanings.
Chase Home Finance has rejected some mortgage modifications because it considered the homeowners’ hardships to be temporary. The Treasury Department has since barred that practice, but those homeowners are left struggling to avoid foreclosure.
Dr. Howard Frumkin, the embattled director of a little-known but important division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been reassigned to a position with less authority, a smaller staff and a lower budget. For the past two years he had endured scathing criticism from Congress and the media for the CDC’s poor handling of public health problems created by the formaldehyde-contaminated trailers that the government provided to Hurricane Katrina victims.
An examination shows how mortgage servicers have created unnecessary hurdles to getting loan-mods and have violated the government’s rules for the program. “There’s a real resistance on the servicers’ part to making permanent modifications,” said Diane Thompson of the National Consumer Law Center.
When it comes to golf, Sen. Saxby Chambliss has champagne taste. In California, he’s putted with his back to the thundering surf near the 7th hole at Pebble Beach, where a round of golf costs $495. In Florida, he’s driven the ball down the fairways of the Boca Raton Resort, with its signature island green on the 18th hole and its Waldorf Astoria interior. These are among the dozen premiere resorts where Chambliss played golf in 2007 and 2008 at a cost of a quarter-million dollars. Chambliss paid those golf expenses from a political fund, supported almost exclusively by lobbyists, political action committees (PACs) and corporate leaders.