URBAN PHILOSOPHER
Conscience Laureate

Thursday, January 12, 2012

BLOWING THE WHISTLE REALLY, REALLY LOUDLY!!


On November 19, 2010, I wrote a blog “Blowing the Whistle A Little Louder,” about Illinois House Bill 6906 which was introduced by State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo).  The purpose of the bill was to make it easier for citizens to report allegations of fraud in Illinois government by adding a simple amendment to the Illinois State Auditing Act with a new section. The synopsis of the bill was:

Amends the Illinois State Auditing Act. Requires the Office of the Auditor General to operate a toll-free telephone hot line for the public to report allegations of fraud in the executive branch of State government. Authorizes the Office to conduct audits concerning alleged fraud and to refer allegations of fraud to the appropriate law enforcement authority or other governmental entity with jurisdiction over the alleged fraud.”

One of the main problems with whistle blowing is that even though wrong-doing is often reported, nothing is done. The purpose of Franks’ bill was to give authority for an audit to be conducted and the information turned over to law enforcement. Once so many agencies became involved in the process, a cover-up of allegations would be harder to pull off.
At the time, Franks said, “The culture of corruption in our state cannot continue. If we are going to change it, we must take the necessary steps to make information more available to citizens and provide citizens with the means to hold their government accountable. The government must be returned to the people and transparency is the first step toward that goal.”

It is now 14 months later, and the new Illinois government fraud reporting hotline became operational and accessible this week. The hotline and online form is operated by the Office of the Auditor General, who is charged with referring the allegations to the proper law enforcement agency or government entity. Previously, Illinois had no single hotline for citizens to report fraud, waste or mismanagement in state government.

“We have made progress in the battle to stiffen state ethics laws, but the pursuit to end business as usual lives on,” said Franks. “I believe strongly that the best way to end corruption and fraud is to shine a bright light on it.”

This hotline is the reporting vehicle for any allegation of misconduct, no matter what office of the Executive Branch of Illinois State government is involved.  “Increasing transparency is the best way to hold our executive officers and their respective staff accountable,” concluded Franks.

The window is open, let the whistle blowing begin! 


FRAUD HOT LINE INFORMATION
Persons wishing to submit allegations to the Auditor General’s Office may do so by:
  • Calling the Auditor General’s toll-free telephone hotline at (855) 217-1895 or (TTY) at (888) 261-2887;
  • Submitting the online form on the Auditor General’s website at www.auditor.illinois.gov; or
  • Mailing to Fraud Hotline, Auditor General’s Office, 740 E. Ash St., Springfield, IL 62703.


2 comments:

  1. I'll be interested in your follow up. Could it be this easy?

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