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Indiana to consider creating a government corruption hotline

Indiana residents soon could have a hotline for reporting improper or illegal spending and other suspected corruption by local government officials, if lawmakers approve a proposal being drafted by a legislative committee.

Posted: Oct 28, 2019 10:19 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana residents soon could have a hotline for reporting improper or illegal spending and other suspected corruption by local government officials, if lawmakers approve a proposal being drafted by a legislative committee.

Sen. Victoria Spartz said Indiana taxpayers have no clear place to go if they suspect officials are being unethical, and a single, state-run hotline would ensure their concerns are investigated, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

"We have so many things in the government and it's hard for people to know where things are," she said.

Spartz suggested the State Board of Accounts, which regularly audits the spending of all local governments, run the hotline in conjunction with the office of the Indiana Inspector General, which investigates corruption by state officials and workers.

State Auditor Paul Joyce, who heads the State Board of Accounts, said his office already fields reports from local government employees who allege violations of the law or the misuse of public resources. He said the public is also welcome to contact his office with similar claims.

But Joyce warned that creating a hotline likely would require doubling his current staff of 15 investigators and changing state laws to establish standards for what must be investigated and to protect the anonymity of whistleblowers.

Rep. Matt Lehman agreed that a hotline could lead to excessive false reports from people upset about decisions made by local officials.

"I have neighbors who don't even know what branch of government I'm in, let alone whether the clerk-treasurer of the town is absconding with money," Lehman said.

Citizens who are informed enough to be aware of illegal action by local leaders already understand to contact their county prosecutor, the State Board of Accounts or their state representative or senator to report issues, Lehman said.

Sen. Karen Tallian noted that Indiana already has several separate hotlines to report child abuse, elder abuse, Medicaid fraud and other crimes. The Legislature should look at merging all the hotlines into a solo answering point that would refer citizen reports to the proper state agency, she said.

The committee wants the hotline proposal to be considered during the legislative session that begins in January.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 667262

Reported Deaths: 12737
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion913541660
Lake48729891
Allen36175646
Hamilton32489398
St. Joseph30361514
Elkhart25536420
Vanderburgh21343382
Tippecanoe20240205
Johnson16485363
Porter16077281
Hendricks15955302
Clark12079182
Madison11810323
Vigo11699234
Monroe10440164
Delaware9899179
LaPorte9838201
Howard9127203
Kosciusko8600111
Bartholomew7531147
Hancock7471134
Warrick7456153
Floyd7269173
Wayne6661192
Grant6465158
Boone618691
Morgan6135129
Dubois5942112
Dearborn551570
Cass5489100
Marshall5456105
Henry544395
Noble513878
Jackson465967
Shelby463591
Lawrence4197113
Gibson405585
Harrison404065
Clinton397653
Montgomery391984
DeKalb388278
Miami358463
Knox357886
Whitley352438
Huntington350877
Steuben340455
Putnam334660
Wabash333976
Ripley328062
Adams326349
Jasper319343
White298553
Jefferson296574
Daviess286196
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261732
Wells259175
Scott252150
LaGrange242670
Clay241644
Randolph226577
Spencer219630
Jennings216944
Washington213327
Sullivan203839
Fountain202842
Starke190051
Owen184254
Fulton179937
Jay178828
Carroll176919
Perry174136
Orange171451
Rush165722
Vermillion161543
Franklin160135
Tipton150041
Parke140216
Pike128633
Blackford120727
Pulaski107844
Newton96832
Brown95340
Crawford92613
Benton92513
Martin80314
Warren76014
Switzerland7568
Union67510
Ohio54211
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