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FBI Seizes Files On Chicago Officials From Inspector General's Office

By aaroncynic in News on Nov 16, 2015 6:27PM

Photo - City of Chicago
The FBI seized two vehicles worth of documents and computers from legislative inspector general Faisal Khan’s office on Friday, just as Khan and his eight-member staff end their four-year tenure at the post. “In order to protect the integrity of these cases, we had to take the extraordinary step to make sure they don’t end up in the wrong hands,” said Khan in an exclusive interview with Natasha Korecki at Politico.

While both Khan and the FBI declined to comment specifically on what was taken, the now former Inspector General did tell Politico that the office was working on several investigations.

“I can say when a prosecutor or law enforcement agency issues a subpoena, it comes with a number of requirements to show how they’re relevant to their work,” Khan said. He said that the information seized was related to criminal investigations, and expressed concern that numerous ethical investigations might end up in a “black hole” and never see the light of day, adding:

“I will be honest with you — I could never have envisioned a city like Chicago being so devoid of ethical morals and values when it came to our elected officials. I never could have imagined the lack of interest in ethics oversight in a major city like Chicago. I could not believe how backwards the city was when it came to ethics. It needs to be blown up and started all over again."

In the past four years, the IG’s office has had a tumultuous relationship with City Hall. While the office had jurisdiction over aldermen and support staff, it could not launch investigations based on anonymous complaints, required notification of any subject under investigation, and had to be approved by the Board of Ethics. Various aldermen have gotten into spats with Kahn, including Joe Moore, who called Kahn a “bozo” and Michelle Harris, who told the Sun-Times he “focused a lot on the wrong issues.”

In fact, Khan has said that the city and aldermen don’t want actual oversight, which is unsurprising, considering just prior to Kahn’s departure, the office released a report concluding that 29 aldermen took in nearly $300,000 in illegal campaign contributions in 2013. According to Chicago Tonight, four aldermen had $50,000 in “questionable contributions,” and the bulk of the money came from real estate firms and developers. An ethics ordinance prohibits campaign contributions in excess of $1,500 from those who have done business with the city, seeking to do business, or lobbyists. In an interview with Chicago Tonight, Khan said:

“They’ve had months and months to make sure there’s a replacement up and running so this office could move over smoothly to a different operation. That’s really the true motivation here. Council isn’t upset about needing a new L.I.G. They’re just not going to find one.”