Picks of the Week: Gun Mole, Iraq Funds and Wal-Mart
In a regular feature of Post Investigations, our editors have combed through the in-depth and investigative reports from news outlets across the nation and selected the notable projects of the week.
Get the complete list (in no particular order) after the jump.
The Double Life of a Gun Control Advocate
In "There's Something About Mary: Unmasking a Gun Lobby Mole," Mother Jones' James Ridgeway, Daniel Schulman and David Corn report how a prominent gun control advocate and community activist managed to cover her tracks as a mole for the gun rights lobby.
While Mary McFate was fighting for tighter gun controls, Mary Lou Sapone worked as a "research consultant" with ties to the National Rifle Association, Mother Jones reported. The discovery of the Florida woman's true identity "has caused the leaders of gun violence prevention organizations to conclude that for years they have been penetrated--at the highest levels--by the NRA or other pro-gun parties."
"It raises the question," said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, "of what did she find out and what did they want her to find out."
The Iraq War: Money as a Weapon
In "Money as a Weapon," The Washington Post's Dana Hedgpeth and Sarah Cohen report on a little-known program that has so far funded at least $2.8 billion to help in the Iraq reconstruction efforts, skirting normal government purchasing rules in the process.
A review by The Post included analysis of a government database detailing more than 26,000 purchasing records; congressional documents and audits; and interviews with troops and their commanders who have worked on the projects.
Among the expenditures, in cash, were $500,000 on action figures made to look like Iraqi Security Forces; $100,000 worth of dolls; $75,000 to send a delegation to a women's and civil rights conference in Cairo; and $50,000 on 625 sheep for people described in records as "starving poor locals" in a Baghdad neighborhood.
Unions Push for Wal-Mart Probe
Labor groups want the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether Wal-Mart officials violated federal election laws by telling employees that a Democratic president would back legislation known as the Employee Free Choice Act, The Wall Street Journal's Kris Maher and Ann Zimmerman report.
Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar told reporters the company welcomed an FEC investigation, "because we are confident they will find what we have known all along, that we did nothing wrong."
The Journal cited a video recording of one of the Wal-Mart meetings in question, in which "a meeting leader told employees that their wages may be reduced to minimum wage for up to three months before a contract is negotiated, that union authorization cards violate workers' right to privacy by including their Social Security numbers on them and that if a small unit within a store votes to unionize, the entire store will be unionized."
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Posted by: Hilary Smith | August 15, 2008 9:50 PM