January 23rd, 2014
12:41 AM ET

Keeping Them Honest: Money, influence and politics

The journalist Michael Kinsley famously wrote about Washington: The real scandal is not what's against the law. The real scandal is what's LEGAL. Drew Griffin investigates what some are calling the extortion game, played for personal gain, they say, by the very politicians who make the rules… and it is all perfectly legal.

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Filed under: Drew Griffin • Special Investigations Unit
August 26th, 2013
10:34 PM ET

Keeping Them Honest: Millions for charity, peanuts for dying children

The headquarters of Kids Wish Network is in a low slung set  of buildings north of Tampa.   The green awning carrying the logo of Kids Wish is small and almost impossible to see from the busy road that leads to the parking lot.  But the charity itself isn't small in the least.  Over the past decade, tax records show it's been highly successful.     Add up the money received for the past ten years and more than $127 million has been donated.  But those same records also show that $109 million of that has been paid right back to the paid telemarketers who raised it.

Kids Wish Network was the subject a months long investigation published in June by the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Tampa Bay Times.  CNN joined that investigation as it was nearing its conclusion.  That investigation labeled Kids Wish as America's "worst" charity and from the available evidence, it's not hard to see why.

CNN's Drew Griffin talked to three ex employees of Kids Wish—two who didn't want their names or identities disclosed.  And one who did.   The one who told us her story on the record is a woman named Meanda DuBay, who worked for the charity as something called a "wish coordinator" for about six months from mid-2011 until January 3, 2012 when she was fired.    She was fired, she says, because she took her concerns and complaint about Kids Wish to the charity's board of directors.  Meanda DuBay was fired, he says, about 45 minutes after hitting "send" on emails to board members outlining her assertions.

Kids Wish Network has filed a civil defamation lawsuit against her but along with that, convinced the FBI to raid her house, confiscate her computers and conduct a full blown investigation for several  months, all based on the charity's claim that Mrs. DuBay stole confidential electronic information.  The FBI ended its investigation with no charges filed and returned all of the seized computers belonging to her and her husband.

It's a story about millions of charitable dollars flowing into a charity that says it helps dying kids.

March 14th, 2013
10:28 PM ET

KTH: Fla. Lt. Gov. resigns over gambling scam

Police uncovered a $300 million illegal gambling scam that lured people in with the promise of helping U.S. veterans. CNN's Drew Griffin reports on the results of the three year police investigation.

March 4th, 2013
09:48 PM ET

Escort: Menendez prostitution claim fake

An escort who claimed Sen. Robert Menendez paid her for sex has now told police she was told to make up those claims. CNN's Drew Griffin reports.

Watch KTH: Searching for the truth about Menendez

February 21st, 2013
11:41 PM ET

Who profits off your hospital bills?

In partnership with Time, CNN's Drew Griffin reports on why medical bills in the U.S. are so exorbitant, and who in the health care industry is making off with a small fortune.


February 20th, 2013
10:15 PM ET

Family fights $474K hospital bill

CNN's Drew Griffin and Time magazine investigate what's behind the high cost of medical bills in America. They find a family who was charged hundreds of thousands of dollars for items used during treatment at a hospital, like the paper cup that holds a patient's pills.

Last March Bob Weinkauf found himself in the ICU struggling to breath. After four days of treatment, the hospital was telling his wife Becky that insurance would not even come close to covering the costs of his care. She says she remembers shaking after the conversation, unsure of what to do.

Weinkauf's bills, totaling about $474,000, were listed in broad categories with few details about the specific charges. He decided to find out what exactly made his hospital stay so costly. The answer was in the price tag of every little or big item he touched or was given – tissues, a urine bottle, a cup he spit in, and most other services and supplies he needed.


Tonight on AC360: The extraordinary cost of getting sick in America
February 20th, 2013
05:24 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: The extraordinary cost of getting sick in America

Health Care in America

When you see a hospital bill for close to half a million dollars right there in front of you, it makes you realize the extraordinary cost of getting sick in America, especially if you are underinsured or, of course, have no insurance at all.

It’s not headline news that health care is wildly expensive but taking a detailed look at what many hospitals actually charge for even the smallest items is truly eye-opening.

Our segment tonight on AC360 is the first of a planned two part series we produced in conjunction with a special edition of Time Magazine, called “Bitter Pill.” Correspondent Drew Griffin and I worked with Time Contributor Steven Brill to track down patients like Bob Weinkauf from this Dallas suburb whose bill from two hospitals while recovering from a horrific lung disease was $474,000.


February 18th, 2013
11:58 PM ET

KTH: Searching for the truth about Menendez

Emails sent anonymously accuse Sen. Menendez of having sex with underage prostitutes. Keeping Them Honest, CNN's Drew Griffin goes to the Dominican Republic to investigate.

January 25th, 2013
10:35 PM ET

New taxpayer-funded train just 28 min. faster

CNN's Drew Griffin investigates how the federal government used billions of dollars for a high-speed rail plan with next to nothing to show for the investment.

January 22nd, 2013
11:26 PM ET

Retiring congresswoman leads 2013 lobbying revolving door

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri, who won easy re-election to her 10th term in Congress in November, is expected to officially leave office soon to take over a job as head of one of Washington’s largest and most influential trade associations.

According to public records, she is one of five outgoing members of the House of Representatives—four Republicans and one Democrat—to take lobbying jobs as the new Congress begins its work.

A public interest group in Washington says Emerson’s case is the personification of the revolving door in the nation’s capital. And a close look at her career helps explain why.

She is a Washington native who in 1975 married a lobbyist named Bill Emerson. He went on to become a Republican congressman from Missouri’s 8th Congressional District, which encompasses much of the southeastern part of the state, with Cape Girardeau as its largest population center. During Bill Emerson’s term in office, his wife became a lobbyist, first for the restaurant industry and later as a spokeswoman for the American Insurance Industry Association.


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