Special Agent in Charge Howard S. Marshall of the FBI’s Louisville Division, joined by John E. Kuhn, Jr. United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, and Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, announced today a new initiative designed to solicit the public’s help in identifying public corruption within our community. The initiative includes the launch of a new, toll-free tip line (844) KYNOPC1 (596-6721), a billboard campaign, and a dedicated e-mail address Kentucky_PC_Complaints@ic.fbi.gov.
Public corruption is the FBI’s top criminal priority because it undermines the public’s trust in our government. A 2014 study by Harvard University’s Center for Ethics identified Kentucky as one of the most corrupt states in the country. In fact, in Kentucky between 2003 and 2012, approximately 300 individuals were convicted of federal crimes related to public corruption. It is a violation of federal law for any federal, state, or local government official to receive anything of value in exchange for or because of an official act. While the vast majority of public officials in Kentucky are dedicated and honest, SAC Marshall stressed “there is simply no acceptable level of corruption.”
“Public corruption victimizes everyone—taxpayers, voters, communities,” stated U.S. Attorney John Kuhn. “Public officials, whether elected or appointed, are more than mere employees. They are servants of the public interest, and we must insist on absolute honesty, integrity and trustworthiness from every one. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky will continue working with our law enforcement partners to ensure crimes involving public corruption are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey agreed stating, “Public corruption is a terribly destructive force throughout Kentucky and has been a particularly pernicious problem in certain areas of the Eastern District of Kentucky. While the overwhelming majority of public officials serve honorably, those who corrupt the operations of government rob their communities-their friends and neighbors-of the fundamental right to honest government. We are pleased to continue our longstanding partnership with the FBI as we work together to combat this statewide problem.”
In a few short months, Kentucky will go to the polls for significant state-wide elections with a national election looming in 2016. SAC Marshall noted, “There is simply no greater right than to elect our political leaders. Anyone attempting to corrupt this process will be investigated as a top priority for our office.”
This year also presents a new opportunity for our state government to partner with the FBI to address a potential, long term problem. For the first time ever, audits for Special Purpose Government Entities will be due in September. The FBI will work with the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts to identify individuals who have violated the public’s trust and misused SPGE funds.
The FBI relies on our federal, state, and local partners to address corruption matters, but concerned citizens are our biggest asset when it comes to exposing officials who use their positions for personal gain. As a result, the Louisville Division has set up the following hotline and e-mail address seeking the public’s assistance in combating public corruption:
You will also see billboards around the state bearing this number and e-mail address. SAC Marshall noted, “The End Corruption Now campaign seeks to unite the commonwealth in the fight against corruption at every level, from the proverbial dog catcher, to the police officer, to the highest state and federal officials in the commonwealth.”