Information Pursuant to 5 ILCS 430/20-20(11)
Function of the OEIG
The function of the Office of Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor (OEIG) is to investigate allegations of misconduct committed by employees, appointees, or officials of the agencies under its jurisdiction, including boards, commissions, the state public universities, and the regional transit boards, as well as vendors doing business with those entities.
The OEIG investigates, when appropriate, alleged violations of law, rule, or regulation committed by an employee of, or those doing business with, an entity under its jurisdiction. For example, the OEIG investigates allegations of waste, fraud, abuse of authority, or corruption, including ghost payrolling, bid rigging, theft, misuse of state time or property, procurement fraud, hiring improprieties, and improper time reporting, among others. The OEIG also investigates alleged violations of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (Ethics Act), including prohibited political activity, revolving door, sexual harassment, gift ban, and retaliation.
The OEIG may refer matters to another agency when it appears that the allegations may be more appropriately addressed by that agency. In some instances, when the OEIG refers the matter to another agency, the OEIG requests that the agency review the allegations and respond to the OEIG about these allegations. The OEIG then reviews these agency responses to determine whether the agency adequately addressed the allegations or whether the OEIG should subsequently open an investigation. The OEIG may also refer a criminal matter to the Illinois State Police or other appropriate law enforcement authority.
The OEIG also has discretion to decline to investigate. For example, the OEIG is limited to investigating misconduct that occurred within one year of the submission of the complaint. 5 ILCS 430/20-20(1), and is also limited to investigating individuals or entities within its jurisdiction. Thus, if the OEIG is without authority to investigate, the OEIG may decline to open the case.
General Overview of the Investigation Process
After a person files a complaint with the OEIG, the complainant will typically receive a letter that will identify a file ID number for the complaint. Generally, the OEIG will only contact the complainant again if it needs additional information or clarification. The OEIG is an independent, objective investigative agency. It does not represent any party or agency in an investigation and does not investigate on behalf of any individual or agency.
For investigations the OEIG opens, it has "the discretion to determine the appropriate means of investigation as permitted by law." 5 ILCS 430/20-20(1). The OEIG investigates complaints by means such as interviewing witnesses, obtaining and analyzing relevant documents, electronic forensic analysis, and conducting surveillance. The length of time required for an investigation depends on factors such as the nature of the allegations, the number of interviews, and the number and complexity of records that must be analyzed.
At the conclusion of an investigation, the OEIG issues a summary report of the investigation if it determines that reasonable cause exists to believe a violation of law or policy has occurred. 5 ILCS 430/20-50(a). The report is delivered to the appropriate ultimate jurisdictional authority (for instance, to the Office of the Governor for agencies under the Governor's authority) and to the head of each agency affected or involved with the investigation. If the OEIG determines that there is insufficient evidence that a violation of law or policy has occurred, it issues a written statement of its decision to close the matter to the Executive Ethics Commission. 5 ILCS 430/20-51. The complainant does not receive a copy of the OEIG's investigatory report.
Legal Limitations on Ability to Provide Information
All records pertaining to OEIG investigations are confidential under the Ethics Act and, therefore, not generally subject to public release:
Unless otherwise provided in this Act, all investigatory files and reports of the Office of an Executive Inspector General, other than monthly reports required under Section 20-85, are confidential, are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, and shall not be divulged to any person or agency, except as necessary (i) to a law enforcement authority, (ii) to the ultimate jurisdictional authority, (iii) to the Executive Ethics Commission, (iv) to another Inspector General appointed pursuant to this Act, or (v) to an Inspector General appointed or employed by a Regional Transit Board in accordance with Section 75-10. (Emphasis added.) 5 ILCS 430/20-95(d).
In addition, the Ethics Act specifically provides that "[t]he identity of any individual providing information or reporting any possible or alleged misconduct to an Executive Inspector General or the Executive Ethics Commission shall be kept confidential and may not be disclosed without the consent of that individual, unless the individual consents to disclosure of his or her name or disclosure of the individual's identity is otherwise required by law." 5 ILCS 430/20-90(a). However, if an investigation results in a finding that an employee engaged in misconduct, the summary report of the investigation may be made public by the Executive Ethics Commission in accordance with applicable law. 5 ILCS 430/20-52. The reports published by the Executive Ethics Commission can be found on its website, as well as the OEIG's website.
OEIG staff generally cannot disclose any information relating to investigations because those investigations are confidential by law. 5 ILCS 430/20-90(b). However, "[i]n his or her discretion, an Executive Inspector General may notify complainants and subjects of an investigation with an update on the status of the respective investigation, including when the investigation is opened and closed." 5 ILCS 430/20-90(c). In addition, if requested by a subject of an investigation, the Ethics Act requires the OEIG to provide a written statement to the subject of the OEIG's decision to close an investigation if the closure was based on a determination that there was insufficient evidence of a violation. 5 ILCS 430/20-51.