Thursday, December 19, 2013

FBI in New Mexico focusing on corruption in rural and remote areas, where it often goes unreported

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is cracking down on corruption in rural New Mexico towns, with a no-acceptance policy aimed at rooting out any amount of corruption, no matter how small, Patrick Lohmann reports for the Albuquerque Journal. "Officials are tackling what they say is a perception that a certain amount of corruption is acceptable, especially in small towns, so they’re asking rural-community residents to think critically about how money is being spent and contracts awarded by their public officials."

A study released earlier this year found that state capitals in remote or rural areas tend to be more corrupt, because of their isolation, and lack of media coverage. FBI lawyer Stephan Marshall cited similar reasons for the crackdown in New Mexico, Lohmann writes. "Marshall said the state’s larger metropolitan areas are better protected against public corruption because bureau offices are often located in them, and because news-media outlets in cities are generally more aggressive. Smaller towns are vulnerable to devastating losses and reduction in services, Marshall said, even if the amount of money misspent pales in comparison to corruption in places like Albuquerque or Santa Fe."

The FBI is also asking citizens to be active in reporting corruption, providing a phone number where people can report suspected corruption, Lohmann writes. The FBI also has "a page on its website that lists possible ways officials could be abusing their power, including whether contracts awarded benefit a public official, whether officials’ relatives are getting contracts and if contracts are being awarded without a bidding process." (Read more)

No comments: