Here are this week’s top must-read stories from #MuckReads, ProPublica’s ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and just including the hashtag #MuckReads or by sending an email to MuckReads@ProPublica.org. The best submissions are selected by ProPublica’s editors and reporters and then featured on our site and @ProPublica.
Banks Took $6B in Reinsurance Kickbacks, Investigators Say, American Banker
Some of the nation’s biggest banks received potentially illegal kickbacks from the companies that insured the mortgages they produced. Documents suggest that banks threatened insurers who didn’t agree to this arrangement.
Contributed by @paulkiel
Members of the Debt Panel Have Ties to Lobbyists, Washington Post
The powerful supercommittee that’s been tasked with reducing the national debt by $1.5 trillion over the next decade is a particularly attractive target for lobbyists. And a number of them already have an in with a panel member—almost 100 of the committee members’ former staffers now work as registered lobbyists. You can explore those connections with the Post’s useful interactive graphic.
Contributed by @washingtonpost
At Afghan Military Hospital, Graft and Deadly Neglect, the Wall Street Journal
Last year, U.S. officers found out that corrupt nurses and doctors at a major Afghan military hospital—one that’s funded in large part by American money—were denying basic treatment to soldiers who don’t pay them bribes. Even after they found out about the situation, it took months to get Afghan officials to do something about it.
Contributed by @kleinmatic
Robo-signed Mortgage Docs Date Back to Late 1990s, Associated Press
It seems that robo-signing, the practice of improperly notarizing mortgage documents or signing them en masse without reviewing their contents, has been going on for much longer than previously thought. Officials are finding more and more dubious mortgage documents as they comb through old paperwork.
See all #MuckReads related to the foreclosure crisis
Mall of America Visitors Unknowingly End Up in Counterterrorism Reports, Center for Investigative Reporting and NPR
Look the wrong way at a guard at the Mall of America, and you might end up with an FBI agent knocking on your door. A review of over 100 of the mall’s “suspicious activity reports” suggests that a counterterrorism initiative at America’s largest mall has been scooping up the wrong people.
Contributed by @BostonReview
Doctors With Alleged History of Malpractice Often Go Unpunished, Kansas City Star
Doctors who have been sued repeatedly for making mistakes–even fatal ones–often go unpunished by state licensing boards in Kansas and Missouri. The states also don’t make each doctor’s history of malpractice claims public, though it’s common practice elsewhere in the U.S. Contributed by @ryankath
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