(BLOOMINGTON) - Hoosiers concerned about possible corruption by public officials now have a hotline they can call to provide tips to a team of federal and state investigators established to look into those claims.
Joe Hogsett, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, provided details about the hotline and its team of investigators during an interview at The Herald-Times Friday morning.
Abby Tonsing, reporter for The Herald-TImes reports, the hotline was launched last week, the telephone hotline has already received 50 calls, Hogsett said. A U.S. Attorney's Public Corruption Working Group will investigate tips from the hotline in the southern district of the state, which covers 60 of Indiana's 92 counties. Northern Indiana has its own hotline and team.
"It's historical in the sense that a group of this nature has focused on one issue and one issue only: identifying, investigating and, when appropriate, prosecuting violations of the public's trust," Hogsett said.
Citizens can call to report "anything and everything" regarding concerns of integrity for "anybody who's charged with the public's trust," Hogsett explained. That could be an elected official, an appointed official, a member of law enforcement or a physician.
Charged with identifying and investigating criminal violations of the public's trust, the Working Group includes about a dozen officers and agents from the following federal and state law enforcement agencies: the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Indiana State Police; Internal Revenue Service; Department of Labor; Department of Housing and Urban Development; Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General; Department of Transportation; and U.S. Secret Service.
Investigators from the Working Group will work in conjunction with local prosecutors. And Hogsett said he anticipates the group will also work with the State Board of Accounts.
In late 2011, Hogsett announced an expanded focus on issues of government corruption and public integrity. This Working Group and hotline are part of that focus, he said Friday. Anyone with information relating to possible criminal activity of public officials can contact the U.S. Attorney's Office public corruption hotline at 317-229-2443.
Tips may be made anonymously. Hogsett advised that callers be as thorough and detailed as possible. An email address and a website for tips are in the works.
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