Salem, OR—Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and the Audits Division released the 2020 Government Waste Hotline Report
today, summarizing the activity of the Government Waste Hotline for 2020. The hotline received 273 initial reports in calendar year 2020, ranging from requests for information to reports that warranted further investigation.
The hotline is for members of the public and state employees to report alleged waste, inefficiency, or abuse of state funds or resources by state agencies, employees, or contractors. Tips and complaints to the hotline have steadily increased over time, from 149 ten years ago to 273 in 2020, an increase of nearly 85 percent. This year, reports to the hotline included:
• 157 reports closed after the person reporting was given alternative contacts more appropriate to address their concerns, such as a state agency’s human resources department or a local government’s board or commission. Several of these cases did not involve state funds or resources or were personal legal matters outside the purview of the hotline.
• 39 reports requiring further review to determine whether the described concerns involved waste, inefficiency, or abuse of state funds. For most of these reports, the allegations were not substantiated.
• 38 reports were referred directly to another public body that could more appropriately investigate the allegation.
• 20 reports were closed after the person reporting did not respond to our requests for additional information needed to proceed with an investigation.
• 18 reports were high-level suggestions for improving efficiencies, not allegations of wrongdoing. These were added to the division’s internal database of ideas for future performance audits.
• One report remains open and may result in a management letter to the involved agency.
“My mission as Oregon Secretary of State is to build trust with Oregonians so that public services can make a difference in their everyday lives,” Secretary Fagan said. “The Oregon Government Waste Hotline is one of many tools we use to build trust through transparency and accountability in state government. Anyone who has knowledge of or concerns about state government waste, inefficiency, or abuse can report this information confidentially to our hotline.”
Complaints include allegations of fraud, theft, unethical or improper workplace conduct, time theft, and misuse of state resources, such as state vehicles or other property. State law ensures confidentiality to every person making a report through the hotline.
Upon receiving a tip or complaint, the Audits Division conducts an initial investigation of the allegation to determine if the matter should be further investigated. The Audits Division is required to notify the Oregon Government Ethics Commission if potential violations of Oregon ethics laws are discovered. Law enforcement must be notified if potential criminal activity is discovered.
A 2020 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that tips are consistently the most common fraud detection method. The study indicated organizations with a reporting hotline have a higher likelihood of fraud being reported and addressed than organizations without a hotline.
Oregonians and state employees concerned about government waste and inefficiency should contact the hotline at (800) 336-8218, or submit a report using the online form
at the Secretary of State’s website.
Read the full report: https://sos.oregon.gov/audits/Documents/2021-18.pd...