by Adam Harris

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email?  Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

Fire Fight, ProPublica

This @RobertFaturechi expose is reminder how much consequential lobbying happens at state level, w/ little scrutiny. https://t.co/RnFJWhijqm

— Alec MacGillis (@AlecMacGillis) June 23, 2016

Over the last eight years, U.S. homebuilders have spent millions of dollars to block potentially life-saving sprinklers being required in new homes. The effort is one example of how money affects politics at the state level and shows how, with the help of allies like South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a powerful lobby has gotten its way.

Chicago does little to control police misconduct – or its costs, The Chicago Reporter

this lede https://t.co/Nl0OmwHW06 pic.twitter.com/LV3BJ4Vaq1

— Terry Parris Jr. (@terryparrisjr) June 23, 2016

Chicago has spent more than $200 million on police misconduct lawsuits between 2012 and 2015, but unlike some other major cities, the city does not analyze the suits for trends – so the Chicago Reporter did. The Reporter built a database of 655 police misconduct settlements and found that "nearly half of the lawsuits claim that officers filed false reports to cover up their misconduct." And when the city and officer admit liability, the officers are not usually punished.

More: Search the settlement database

Gun Control, The Guardian

"rifles of any kind were used in less than 3% of gun murders in 2014" https://t.co/6Z0UCRrldo

— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) June 22, 2016

From understanding the deadlock over gun laws to the outsized role mass shootings play in the national conversation, this Guardian series examines the gun control debate, where it goes wrong and how it can get back on track.

The Shadow Doctors, The New Yorker

The war in Syria is killing off not only civilians, but medical knowledge itself https://t.co/NfMxdlF3JC

— Tim Mak (@timkmak) June 20, 2016

As the war in Syria rages on, the dearth of doctors and medical professionals is becoming increasingly apparent. In fact, almost 700 medical personnel have been "assassinated, bombed, and tortured to death" by the Syrian government in the last five years, according to Physicians for Human Rights. But despite the carnage, doctors worldwide have created an underground network of hospitals to assist in Syria. This is the story of those hospitals and the doctors across the globe who are spreading medical knowledge in Syria as fast as they can.

Gov. Malloy's Administration Offered Cigna Help In Lead-Up To Merger Review, IBTimes

Emails unearthed by @davidSirota shows CT governor formally offered to help with merger while promising impartiality https://t.co/0WIG7Fp7ZR

— Clark Mindock (@ClarkMindock) June 21, 2016

The possible merger between health care giants Cigna and Anthem could "raise premiums and limit medical care for more than 53 million people across the country," consumer groups say. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy's administration may be helping push it along, emails reveal.

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