Investigating Officials: Where to Start

CORRUPTION takes place because individuals who have been entrusted with power take liberties with the law and with the public purse. Pursuing the trail of wrongdoing inevitably leads to individuals who commit malfeasance. Sooner or later, therefore, those uncovering corruption will have to check on the lifestyles, assets, and behavior of public officials.

These are areas that are ripe for investigation. The accumulation of wealth by those who hold public office is hardly kept secret, and there is bound to be documentation proving such illicit amassing of riches. Moreover, even while corrupt deals are transacted behind closed doors, those who commit wrongdoing invariably leave a trail, either in the form of botched procedures or behavior that violates codes of ethics.

The following are some techniques that have been successfully used to investigate corrupt public officials:

Check lifestyles
Look for assets
Examine conflicts of interest
Look for patterns
Investigate friends, relatives, and cronies
Investigate intermediaries

Source: PCIJ


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