Starting in the fall of 2008, the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Center for Public Integrity fielded a team of reporters to examine how effectively governments at all levels had managed money and programs dedicated to homeland security. The result was a series of stories – and an interactive map – that have been combined into a single collaborative website. >> View the project here. >> A state-by-state look at security spending. Led by G.W. Schulz at CIR and Sarah Laskow at CPI, our team embarked on a broad search for documentation of homeland security spending and management, much of which had never been seriously scrutinized by journalists. Using open-records laws, we approached every state and Washington, D.C., requesting information that would show how and where officials had invested anti-terrorism and preparedness funding, placing a premium on computer files such as spreadsheets that listed individual grant transactions. In many cases, we received detailed electronic records and other material describing types of equipment, who purchased it, how much it cost, when it was acquired and other specifics. Some states simply refused our requests, while others released material only after extensive negotiation. Similar requests were made of federal officials, especially at the Department of Homeland Security – again, with mixed results. We also reviewed thousands of pages of official government documents – some hunted down on the Web and others secured through official requests. Among them were dozens of reports from state auditors and overseers, public-interest groups, the federal Government Accountability Office, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, the Congressional Research Service and congressional committees with public safety responsibilities. Our team augmented that research with more than 100 interviews – of current and former government officials, homeland security and preparedness experts, lobbyists and other experts at think tanks, universities and private companies. We also made use of lobbying and campaign contribution records. Support for this partnership project of the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for Investigative Reporting is provided by the Open Society Institute and the Fund for Constitutional Government.

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