The state cell phone logged three minutes of use in May, zero
minutes in April and 29 minutes in February, Quinn's first month as
governor after lawmakers ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office,
according to state phone bills.
"I use both, you know, I mean
people call me, different people call me, different things," Quinn
said in response to questions by The Associated Press after a recent
When the Democratic governor uses his private phone for official
calls, he doesn't have to disclose his activities under the Freedom
of Information Act like he does with a state phone.
Bills for the government cell phone, which is assigned to Quinn's
old lieutenant governor's office, list the phone numbers of incoming
and outgoing calls. Quinn has refused to release phone records for
his private BlackBerry.
Quinn has made government transparency a mantle of his
administration, recently signing legislation to strengthen the
state's public records laws in the wake of former Gov. Rod
Blagojevich's December arrest on federal corruption charges.
Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to sell
or trade President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat.
Watchdog groups are worried
Watchdog groups say it's worrisome for Quinn to do any state
business on a private phone.
The governor insists his private phone is for private phone
calls, but he acknowledged through spokesman Bob Reed that he
"occasionally" uses it for state business.
Typically, that's when someone in state government calls him on
his private phone and he takes the call, Reed explained in an e-mail
after talking to Quinn.
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"Some people may call me ... but when you receive a call you don't
always know who's on the other end of the phone," Quinn said
Quinn has said he doesn't use his private BlackBerry to send
e-mail to state employees.
Some government watchdogs say Quinn should use a state phone for
official calls and could call people back on his government cell
phone when they call his private BlackBerry to talk about state
"If the governor is doing state business, then the people ought
to be able to see that, and if he's doing it in a way that people
can't see, then he ought to do it in the way that's transparent,"
said David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for
Quinn considers his state phone a "backup" for emergencies so he
can be easily reached by public safety agencies and others in
government who might need him, Reed said.
That phone got the most use in March, when it logged 60 minutes
of airtime, according to state records. Records were available only
through the June phone bill.
By DEANNA BELLANDI]
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