Federal, state, and local authorities across the country are digging with more fervor into cases of public corruption, reports the Arizona Republic. The Arizona Public Corruption Task Force, which includes most law enforcement agencies in the state, is providing training and sharing information about possible power-abuse cases. Federal prosecutors recently formed a unit to handle public corruption. The FBI says public corruption is now one of its top five priorities. The FBI has created a hotline and a site, Reportcorruption.fbi.gov, where anyone can report a crime.
Nationally the FBI has 2,200 open public-corruption cases. Most Arizona criminal cases against public officials are tied to the state’s southern boundary: Border Patrol officers or other government workers who may accept bribes, smuggle drugs, or commit related crimes. “It’s increasingly tempting for mayors and city managers to take shortcuts that they would not do – fast-tracking, no-bid contracts – because of intense pressures,” said ethics expert Judy Nadler of Santa Clara University.