Top 10 MacIver Investigations of 2020

There was no shortage of opportunities for enterprising reporters to uncover incredible news stories this past year. Few did. The MacIver Institute, on the other hand, has been dogging public officials for over a decade to ensure the most pressing issues facing our state are thoroughly vetted. This tradition of diligent journalism continued in earnest throughout 2020. Here are our ten best investigative reports.

#10 Rep. Milroy Called For Martial Law Over Spring Election

Many public officials were terrified that the spring election would lead to a tidal wave of COVID-19 cases. An open records request of Maggie Gau’s communications revealed how desperate some of them had become. Rep. Milroy wanted the governor to declare martial law to stop the election.

#9 Why Property Taxes Always Go Up In Wisconsin

There’s no getting around it: Wisconsin property taxes are high. It seems no matter what politicians say or promise, they keep going up. He are all the dirty secrets why.

#8 “Wowzers!” Sec. Frostman Reacts To The Unemployment Crisis

An open records request from the MacIver Institute uncovered a shocking leadership vacuum at the Dept. of Workforce Develop (DWD) during an historic unemployment benefits crisis. This investigation was a precursor to Gov. Evers’ decision to fire DWD Sec. Caleb Frostman.

#7 What They’re Fighting For In Madison

Abolishing prisons and local police are short term goals for groups like Freedom Inc. that helped coordinate the troubles in Madison over the past week. During an online meeting, Freedom Inc. leaders and their allies discussed their mutual hatred for America and what they plan to do about it.

#6 Evers Opens Up Road Funds To Non-Road Projects And The Requests Flood In

Money set aside specifically for local road repairs fed a free-for-all cash grab after Gov. Evers’ diverted it into a new grant program open to any local “transportation” project. Locals ask DOT to pay for bike paths, a scenic overlook and converting railroad station into a museum.

#5 Questionable Curriculum: Schools Walk Out on Education

The young people protesting and rioting across Wisconsin this summer are anything but an untrained mob. From their rhetoric to their organization to their street tactics – there is nothing amateur going on. Did these young people figure all this out on their own? It might not surprise you to know that public schools play a central role in this activist education. However, the scale of this effort will shock you. MacIver News published a follow up story to this report on BLM’s Week of Action in Milwaukee Public Schools.

#4 Data Blackout Gives Way To Data Dump

MacIver News has highlighted endless problems with the Department of Health Services’ daily COVID-19 data updates. An unusual problem arose in October one weekend when DHS stopped updating its numbers. The next week it started working through its backlog – which it turned out stretched well beyond just a single weekend. This led to artificial records that drove misleading media narratives.

We produced this chart to illustrate what happened on Oct. 20th. That data shape seems to be popping up a lot lately.

#3 Radical New Building Codes Could Help Madison Achieve Environmental Dreams, But at What Cost?

New International Energy Conservation Code could help Madison achieve its dream of a green utopia, but it could make Madison’s housing crisis even worse. Online voting results made the International Energy Conservation Code even more radical than MacIver first reported last year. Will the State of Wisconsin Continue to Resist this Radical Agenda?

This story was a follow up to a MacIver News Investigation from 2019 into how building codes are developed. We learned they’re created by a non-governmental organization guided by numerous special interests that may surprise you.

#2 Did “End Bail” Movement Lead to Anisa Scott’s Death?

A growing movement in Dane County seeks to end cash bail, which helps keep potentially dangerous criminals off the streets while they await trial. Supporters of this movement pay the cash bail for inmates in the Dane County jail. Sometimes, those former inmate go on to commit even worse crimes. A murdered 11-year-old Madison girl is a potential victim of this movement.

#1 DHS Caves to MacIver, Throws Politifact Under the Bus

A MacIver study discovered DHS had excluded some 600,000 test results in its daily COVID-19 positive test rate, also called positivity. Hours after Politifact reporter, Eric Litke, attempted to this study about a mistake DHS was making in calculating the COVID-19 positivity rate – DHS adopted MacIver’s recommendations.