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FBI launches new campaign to identify public corruption

Posted at 6:24 PM, Dec 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-06 19:24:23-05

The FBI is strengthening its effort to help identify public corruption among law enforcement and elected officials.

You may soon notice new billboards throughout Wisconsin with the FBI's logo, asking you to call (414) 276-4684 or visit TIPS.FBI.GOV to report public corruption.

You can call that tip line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and speak directly with someone from the FBI.

"It's important right now," said Eric Burns, who manages the FBI White Collar Crime & Civil Rights Programs. "We're just over the midterm elections, and already talking about races set for 2020. It's the perfect time to make sure candidates, campaigns, and those who are supposed to be working for you, are being held accountable."

Burns says the billboard campaign is to remind everyone that they can, and should, call the FBI for public corruption complaints. So, what does public corruption include?

"If you felt uncomfortable or noticed some sort of issue when you voted, or during the lead-up during campaign season, report it," Burns said. "That's often how the cases can develop into getting someone out of office that shouldn't be there. Investigating voter suppression is a big part of what we do. Do people feel confident that they can go to the polls and vote?"

It was the FBI that handled the case of a poll worker in West Allis wearing an "ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement" baseball cap on Election Day. But Burns can't comment on that case specifically.

Cities, counties and states get federal funding, that's why the FBI is in charge of investigating campaign and candidate issues at the city, county and state level. 

"For example, if you're a local businessman here and you feel pressured somehow to donate to a campaign, report it," Burns said. 

The FBI investigates corruption complaints against all law enforcement agencies as well.

"If someone gets pulled over, and the cop asks them for money to let them off the hook for a ticket, that's corruption," Burns said. "That is something that should be reported."

Burns says it's just one single phone call that can help uncover wrongdoing. The FBI's job is to collect the facts, and in doing so, they want to hear from you.