CHICAGO (CBS) — The city official tasked with monitoring the City Council for corruption and waste said he’d be happy to be out of work, if aldermen give real investigative power to someone else.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan said his office already is out of funds for this year, and hamstrung by restrictions on how and when it can investigate complaints against aldermen.
So he welcomed talk the City Council might agree to give Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson authority to investigate aldermen and their staffs, but only if aldermen don’t impose the same restrictions and budget pressures he has faced.
“I’ve become a cynic, unfortunately, here in the last three years; and I find it incredibly curious how now about four months, four to five months before an election, everybody seems to become an ethics reformer at this point,” he said.
Khan noted, if Ferguson is given the same kind of power to investigate aldermen as he already does to investigate the mayor’s office and city agencies, he’d have more freedom to launch investigations than Khan does now.
“He can take anonymous complaints against them. He doesn’t have to go to the Board of Ethics for authority, or an approval. He doesn’t have to notify the subjects are under investigation, and he can pretty much dig into whatever he wants. He can take their computers when he needs to. He can get all their emails. Really investigate, and I applaud that effort,” Khan said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has applauded aldermen for considering the idea of giving Ferguson power to investigate aldermen for the first time in the history of his office.
“It’s a lively discussion, and it should happen,” he said. “Which inspector general’s office is right to oversee City Council?”
Khan is the guest on this weekend’s edition of “At Issue,” airing Sunday at 9:30 p.m.