Completely unreported by every media outlet (including this one), and seemingly unnoticed by everyone, last Thursday afternoon Chicago’s Legislative Inspector General, Faisal Khan, posted a letter to Facebook announcing that on August 28, his office will run out of money and need to shut down. A week earlier, Khan mailed hard copies and emailed the same letter to each alderman.
There was, “no response. Not from the Mayor’s office or any member of Council,” Khan told Aldertrack this weekend.
Khan, who has had an uneasy relationship with members of Council, is not surprised at the outcome.
“I don’t think there’s a real interest in sustaining this office. It was just a cover for real aldermanic abuse,” said Khan. ‘“As soon as we started doing real work, there was real push back. There’s been nothing but an adversarial relationship.”
The OLIG received a minimal budget of $350,000. Khan found it difficult to hire enough staff to do the job he believed he was hired to do. And, since his office had to seek a new appropriation each year, Khan believed the deck was stacked against him.
Making it worse, Khan thinks, is that his office has looked into hundreds of ethics complaints, including 425 potential campaign finance violations from the last election. Then, when he finds something potentially criminal, he refers it to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“It’s impossible to do your job when you’re supposed to ask for money from the people you’re supposed to oversee. That’s one of the problems of this office. We’re at a point where when you know you’re under investigation you’re not [going to be] interested in supporting the office,” he said.
Khan, who has been commuting back to New York City each weekend to spend time with his wife and newborn twin sons, understands the end is near for his office. Now he’s beginning to look to the future, like packing up all his investigation documents and turning them over to federal investigators.
The feds are working on the cases, slowly and deliberately, said one of his former staffers. “There are cases referred to federal investigators that are of major import.”
In the meantime, the Legislative Inspector General won’t be waiting for City Council when it comes back from August vacation.