White creates new Web site for public to report corruption

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Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has announced he has created a new Web site for the public and his employees to report potential corruption. White said the new Web site is a continuation of his effort to restore integrity to an office he inherited under a cloud of corruption and controversy.

“We want the public to know that there is zero tolerance for corruption or unethical behavior in the Secretary of State’s office,” White said. “This Web site will make it easier for the public or our employees to report any instances where they believe laws are broken or where they see suspicious behavior.”

The new Web site, ReportNow.net, allows the public to file complaints of illegal or unethical activities regarding the Secretary of State’s office online. The complaints will be accessed solely by White’s Inspector General, Jim Burns, and his staff. Burns said all reports are 100 percent confidential and can be sent anonymously. Burns did encourage people who report corruption to include as much information as possible, including their names and contact information. Doing so leads to more successful investigation, as his staff is better able to corroborate information about the case.

“Secretary of State employees and the general public have grown more comfortable with the inspector general’s office because we have established a strong record of protecting their confidentiality,” Burns said. “As we have gained their confidence, they are including their names and contact information with complaints more often, which is a great aid to our investigations. Their cooperation is essential to rooting out corruption.”

Since taking office as Secretary of State in 1999, White has made many changes in the office to restore integrity and root out corruption, including the following:

Prohibited soliciting employees for campaign contributions and set limits for employee contributions.

Worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s office on the Operation Saferoad investigation and retested more than 1,000 truck drivers who potentially obtained CDLs fraudulently.

Hired former U.S. Attorney Jim Burns as Inspector General and initiated new law to make the Inspector General’s position in the office permanent with additional powers to conduct independent investigations as well as protect whistleblowers from retribution.

Provided the Inspector General the resources and autonomy to hire highly qualified, professional investigators.

Initiated a new law allowing the office to suspend the driver’s license of anyone caught bribing a driving examiner.

Created a hotline to report corruption.

From the Aug. 23-29, 2006, issue

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