Overview

Executive Ethics Commission, Executive Inspector General

The Illinois Executive Ethics Commission (Ethics Commission) is comprised of nine appointed commissioners, each serving a four-year term. The Commission's duties include: conducting administrative hearings on allege violations of the Ethics Act, providing guidance to the Ethics Officers, and overseeing ethics training for all employees of the executive branch of state government. For more information visit the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission website.

For university employees, the Office of Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor (OEIG)  serves as the executive inspector general. This position is appointed by the governor of the state of Illinois for a term of five years.

Established in 2003, the OEIG acts as an independent state agency, whose primary function is to investigate fraud, abuse and violations of laws, rules and policies in state government. It investigates reported allegations of misconduct by the employees, appointees, elected officials, and state vendors under its jurisdiction. The OEIG may also initiate investigations without receipt of a specific complaint.

The OEIG's jurisdiction includes state public universities, the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, and all state agencies and departments of the executive branch of state government, except for those agencies under the jurisdiction of the Offices of the Attorney General, the Comptroller, the Treasurer, and Secretary of State.

Additionally, the OEIG has responsibility for investigating reported misconduct by those (such as contractors or vendors) who conduct business with state employees or entities under the OEIG's jurisdiction.

Cooperating with Investigations

If you are asked by an individual from the Inspector General's Office to participate in an investigation, the law requires that you cooperate. In order to conduct their business in a confidential manner, the investigators may ask that you not share any details of your discussion. You are expected to respond to the questions of the investigator fully and factually, without inference or presumption.

Upon being contacted, you will have an opportunity, if you wish, to ask whether you are the subject of an investigation or a witness and whether you can have another person attend the meeting with you (e.g., union representative, personal attorney, friend, or co-worker). Though your ethics officer is unable to discuss the details of your interview, he or she can assist in regard to further explaining the law and the related process.

Additionally, your ethics officer is a resource to assist in the collection and delivery of documents requested by the Inspector General investigator to ensure compliance with state and federal privacy requirements such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Failure to cooperate in an OEIG investigation is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

All requests for documents and materials from university employees by an Inspector General investigator must be made in writing (Illinois Executive Ethics Commission rule Section 1620.300).

Reporting Possible or Alleged Misconduct

As a state employee, it is your ethical duty to report violations of laws, rules, or regulations by another state (including university) officer, employee or vendor relating to state/university business including prohibited offers or promises. To report a non-emergency violation of law, rule or regulation, you should contact the Office of Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor (OEIG) via its toll-free hotline at 866-814-1113. For those who require it, the OEIG may also be contacted toll-free via a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at 888-261-2734.

In the event of an emergency situation requiring an immediate police response, you should contact the Illinois State Police or the county, municipal or campus police agency that can provide the fastest response (for example, by dialing 911). Examples of emergency situations include those that involve the illegal use or possession of a weapon, bodily injury or threat of bodily injury, or criminal sexual assault.

All spoken or written statements to the OEIG, whether in reporting an incident or participating in an investigation, must be truthful and believed to be factual by the communicating employee.

Penalties Within the Law

There are several penalties for noncompliance within the Ethics Act, including misdemeanor criminal charges, personal fines, and discipline or discharge. It is important that you not only understand the requirements of the law, but that you comply with its various aspects. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact your ethics officer.