Friday, September 22, 2006

Hotline for Corruption Established by Chicago Crime Commission

Friends of ours: Al Capone

For more than 100 years, Chicago has had a reputation as the most corrupt city in America. A city attorney was once quoted as saying: "I wonder frequently if there is anyone in Chicago who really looks after its public affairs." That was said in 1903. this week somebody new will start looking after Chicago's public affairs.

The Chicago Crime Commission is rolling out a public corruption hotline and webpage, where government employees and concerned citizens may report official misconduct and wrongdoing. They may need a stable of operators standing by to take information, if history is any indication.

In the past few years, more than 200 city, county and state government employees and elected officials have been convicted of corruption while on the job. The list includes governors and judges, congressman and state legislators, and enough crooked aldermen to populate half the Chicago City Council.

On Thursday moring, the crime commission unveiled its new hotline phone number and webpage address that commission officials say are intended to ease the burden on the FBI and other staff-strapped federal agencies experiencing "resource limitations."

The hotline is (888) EYEONGOV or (888) 393-6646.

The Web site is

Federal prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald and other law enforcement officials are doing their part to address public corruption, according to the crime commission, but some government employees fear on-the-job retaliation if they try to blow the whistle. So, the new crime commission hotline will promote anonymous reporting of corruption tips and complaints.

Since the days of notorious Chicago outfit boss Alphonse Capone, crime commission investigators have linked the success of mob rackets to political graft, judicial fixes and payoffs to government workers. The commission hopes its latest crime fighting tool will address the chronic plague of Chicago corruption. Consider that it was 1955, 51-years ago, on the night that Richard J. Daley was first elected mayor that Alderman Paddy Bauler issued his famous declaration, "Chicago ain't ready for reform."

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

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