Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Third Time's a Charm?

Today's Tribune reports on a leaked report from the governor's Inspector General, this one finding that a state employee engaged in political work with taxpayer resources. This is the third time that a report of the governor's IG has been leaked to the press. News coverage of the report give the strong impression that the IG investigated this instance thoroughly and reached a reasonable determination. However, for reasons we find totally indefensible, the law requires these reports to be confidential.

Since the IG's office was created in 2004, the office has concluded over 685 investigations. The Ethics law allows the IG to announce only the number of investigations it has conducted. The public, by statute, is kept in the dark unless and until the IG sends a complaint to the Ethics Commission. To date, the Commission has received only one report, out of over 2500 allegation filed, and that one has not yet been resolved.

ICPR believes that the public has a right to know more about investigations undertaken by the Inspectors General. We shouldn't have to rely on leaks to determine whether our government is working or not. The General Assembly should amend the Ethics Act to allow for sunshine in ethics.

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