Financial reporting led to some of the Center for Public Integrity’s most interesting stories of 2014, including our first news documentary, all with the same theme: How big financial institutions profit off homeowners, investors and consumers.
We expect more stories will share that theme in 2015, but this week we’re highlighting our major investigations from 2014 in handy, easy-to-read format. Don’t want to miss out? Sign up and receive them via email.
Here are the key findings from a year’s worth of financial investigations:
The financial services industry has made good friends with a handful of members of the House of Representatives, to the tune of $149 million in political contributions. In return, Wall Street wields influence as lawmakers draft legislation and roll back parts of Dodd-Frank. One of the so-called “banking caucus”, Shelley Moore Capito, will head to the Senate in 2015.
Barely recovering from the financial crisis of 2008, Florida has established a separate legal system for foreclosure procedures. The system, the Center found, includes practices that a Florida Supreme Court judge labeled “improper” and often leaves homeowners stuck with debt and responsibility for homes they haven’t occupied for years.
The Center’s investigation into the prison banking system tracked how money sent from families of inmates disappeared into a web of fees, fines and kickbacks. It also led people in power to take a deeper look at the prison finance system. In the wake of the Center’s investigation, the no-bid contracts Bank of America and JPMorgan enjoy in federal prisons have been questioned by senators and Treasury. In addition, fees for money transfers in three states have been removed.
Read more in Inequality, Opportunity and Poverty
The SEC levied fines and a one-year ban on credit rating titan S&P but did not address key issues identified in a Center report
Wells Fargo makes repairs to properties stuck in limbo in St. Petersburg