Saturday, Sept. 13


Governor's watchdog office
officially open    
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[SEPT. 13, 2003]  CHICAGO -- Fulfilling the goals he set in January for bringing strong ethics reform to state government, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced that the Office of Inspector General officially opened Wednesday, Sept. 10. The newly formed office, headed by former prosecutor Z. Scott, is ready to respond to ethics inquiries and complaints of misconduct from the public and employees under the governor's jurisdiction.

The governor made his announcement during a speech to Chicago civic and business leaders, government reform advocates, and top officials from state agencies covered by the new Office of Inspector General.

"History has taught us that we cannot solely rely on our own officials -- elected or appointed -- to always play by the rules. We need to build more checks and balances into the system. We need an office to investigate corruption and root it out," said Blagojevich. "Over the last few months, Z. Scott has worked to develop the Office of the Inspector General. Starting today, the Office of the Inspector General is officially open for business."

Employees in agencies under the governor's control and members of the general public can call the office toll-free at (866) 814-1113 or go to its website at to report wrongdoing in state government. All calls are confidential and all allegations will be investigated.

To encourage cooperation with the inspector general, the governor signed an executive order in January that gives whistle-blower protection from intimidation or retaliation to state employees who provide information to the inspector general.

Later this fall, Scott's office will roll out an ethics training program for every employee in an office, agency or commission under the governor's authority. The program will be designed to clear up any questions regarding what constitutes unethical conduct and how to report suspicious behavior.

"With these new reforms, we have begun putting a firm foundation in place. But we have more to do. We have to build on that foundation. And to do that, we need cooperation from our colleagues," Blagojevich added. "I sent the legislature suggestions for improving the ethics package they passed, and I urge them to accept my changes."

During the spring legislative session, the legislature considered a comprehensive ethics reform package and, ultimately, sent the governor a weakened version of the bill. In response, Blagojevich issued an amendatory veto that made several recommendations to strengthen the package, including:

--Creating an independent Ethics Commission, to be nominated and chosen with the input of every constitutional officer and legislative leader, that will review and make recommendations on cases brought by the executive inspector general.

--Establishing an executive inspector general to oversee the entire executive branch.

--Establishing an ethics hot line and ethics training for all employees in the executive branch.

--Tightening ethics rules for elected officials, such as prohibiting constitutional officers and members of the General Assembly from using public service announcements to promote their name or image and eliminating loopholes in the gift ban act.

--Ending "revolving door" practices by prohibiting state employees for at least one year after leaving state employment from taking positions with private entities they regulated or negotiated with.

"If these suggestions become law, Illinois would -- for the first time in our history -- have the safeguards in place that establish rules of conduct and methods of enforcement, should those rules be broken," said the governor.

The General Assembly is expected to take action on the governor's amendatory veto of HB 3412 during the November veto session.

General information on the Office of Inspector General

Ensuring honesty and integrity in state government

Gov. Rod Blagojevich created the Office of Inspector General in January 2003. The OIG acts as an independent agency whose function is to investigate fraud and abuse in state government. Specifically, the Office of Inspector General receives and investigates complaints of violations of any law, rule or regulation; abuse of authority; or other forms of misconduct by officers, employees and appointees of each department, office, board or commission directly responsible to the governor. The inspector general reports any findings to the governor and may recommend measures to prevent the future occurrence of investigated instances of fraud, abuse or misconduct. The inspector general refers findings establishing criminal conduct to the appropriate prosecuting authority.

The Office of Inspector General recognizes that the majority of state employees and officials are hardworking and honest individuals. However, when evidence of actual or apparent impropriety exists in state government, it must be effectively and objectively dealt with either administratively or through the court system. It is the goal of the Office of Inspector General to heighten the trust of Illinoisans in the functions of state government.


The jurisdiction of the Office of Inspector General extends to the governor, his staff, state agencies, departments, boards, commissions and any other entities appointed, employed, controlled, directed or subject to the authority of the governor. Specifically excluded from the office's jurisdiction are the Illinois General Assembly, Illinois courts, the offices of secretary of state, auditor general, treasurer, attorney general, their staff and employees. As a general rule, the Office of Inspector General does not become involved in cases involving private disputes, labor-management issues or litigation. Matters investigated by the Office of Inspector General may also fall within the jurisdiction of other agencies (such as law enforcement investigators, prosecuting authorities and other inspectors general). In such cases, the inspector general may make a referral to or work together with other agencies to investigate complaints.

The Office of Inspector General is to make Illinois government work for everyone.


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Z. Scott, inspector general -- In April 2003, Gov. Blagojevich appointed Z. Scott as the first inspector general for the Office of the Governor. Ms. Scott most recently served as chief of the General Crimes Section in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois, where she worked for 16 years as an assistant U.S. attorney and supervisor in the Criminal Division. Prior to joining that office, she was an assistant corporation counsel for the city of Chicago. Ms. Scott, a licensed attorney, is a graduate of Indiana University School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

Deborah L. Steiner, first deputy inspector general -- Ms. Steiner joined the Office of Inspector General in June 2003. Prior to joining the office, she served over four years as an assistant U.S. attorney with the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Ms. Steiner, a licensed attorney, graduated from Cornell Law School after working for two years with the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., in management and training. She received her undergraduate degree from Manchester College in Indiana.

William Maloney, director of investigations
-- Mr. Maloney assumed the position of director of investigations in June 2003. He has been a supervisor and special agent with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, where he worked for approximately 30 years. As an IRS supervisor and special agent, he participated in the investigation and prosecution of cases that included criminal tax violations and allegations of money laundering, fraud, asset forfeiture, public corruption and narcotics trafficking.

The Office of Inspector General also employs additional lawyers who assist in the investigations, create policy for the office and analyze legal matters. The office investigators are tasked with the investigation of the complaints that come to the office through the hot line, mailings, faxes or office visits. Finally, the office is supported by a dedicated and hardworking administrative staff.


Investigations are initiated upon receipt of a complaint or other information that sets forth reasonable cause to believe a wrongful act or omission has been committed by state agencies, officials or employees. Investigations may also be initiated by the inspector general upon receipt of credible information received from anonymous sources.

Individuals are welcome to contact the office with information regarding waste, fraud, corruption and abuse. It is the office's practice to maintain the names of complainants in confidence where possible. People may also provide information anonymously.

The investigations conducted by the Office of Inspector General are confidential in nature. Neither the individual who referred the complaint to the OIG nor any member of the public may obtain information about open, pending or closed complaints. Confidentiality is at the core of the office, and even the mere existence of a complaint will not be disclosed until such time as disclosure may become appropriate.

Because the office conducts its work confidentially, complainants are not normally apprised of the progress of investigations or reviews and may not be informed about the disposition of an investigation or review.

It is the general policy of the office to neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation or review prior to the disposition of the matter by the inspector general. 

How do I file a complaint?

You may file a complaint by (1) calling the office toll-free at (866) 814-1113; (2) sending a letter to Office of Inspector General, Attention Complaint Division, 32 West Randolph, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601; (3) faxing a letter to (312) 814-5479; or (4) visiting the office at the address below to fill out a complaint form. The complaint form is also available to print out from
. [To download the Adobe Acrobat reader for the PDF file, click here.]

If the complaint alleges a violation of law, rule or regulation or fraud, waste, corruption or abuse by an employee or vendor falling under the governor's jurisdiction, your complaint will be assigned to an investigator for review. If the complaint is not made anonymously, you will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of the complaint. Depending on the nature of the complaint, it is not likely that you will hear from the office about the complaint.

The OIG investigates alleged violations of any law, rule or regulation committed by any state employee falling under the governor's jurisdiction or companies doing business with the agencies, boards or commissions of the governor. That means the office investigates allegations of waste, fraud, abuse or corruption within the governor's agencies, boards or commissions and the companies doing business with them.

What types of complaints does the OIG decline?

The Office of the Inspector General is not the appropriate forum for complaints related to city or municipal officials, county officials, or federal officials. The office also does not investigate complaints related to employees of the secretary of state, attorney general, comptroller, auditor general or state treasurer. Finally, the OIG is not equipped to investigate prisoner complaints that have been adjudicated through administrative and criminal review channels.

Contact information

Office of Inspector General

32 West Randolph St.

Suite 1300

Chicago, IL 60601

Reception: (312) 814-5600

Hot line: (866) 814-1113

Fax: (312) 814-5479

[Illinois Government News Network
news release]

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