State law requires the
findings of most internal investigations to be kept private. But
telling the public would battle government secrecy and corruption,
inspectors for several constitutional officers told a state ethics
"It's one thing to knock out corruption, but you also have to change
the culture of the institution," said Jim Burns, an inspector for
the secretary of state.
Right now, inspectors' hands are tied, said Mary Anderson, a former
deputy inspector general for the governor's office. Because state
law forces them to keep the reports private, the public has no idea
what they've found or how they are handled.
Some states make findings
public, including Ohio,
New Jersey and New York.
Names of employees found innocent of wrongdoing are typically pulled
from the public documents.
Illinois should release all reports in the name of transparency
instead of cherry picking cases to release, said Gov.
Pat Quinn's investigator,
The inspectors and other experts also asked the joint ethics
committee to change the privacy law by giving them permission to
investigate anonymous tips and initiate their own probes.
Investigators currently cannot pursue a case without a complaint.
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"One of the ways you can
eliminate more people doing the wrong thing is them knowing that
somebody was punished for doing it," said Rep.
Elizabeth Coulson, R-Glenview
"If you don't make it public, everybody just assumes, 'He didn't get
in trouble, so now I can do it."'
The 16-member special legislative committee is charged with
revamping Illinois ethics laws after the impeachment of former
Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Members expect to review the testimony and recommend changes this
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