Group accused of misusing tax dollars

By Alex Davis |

Published 04/23 2014 05:02PM

Updated 04/23 2014 05:40PM

ILLINOIS -- An audit shows a law enforcement group misused tax dollars. The group is the Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (LETSB). But, instead of training, the agency is accused of breaking the rules. WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

The audit found tens of thousands of dollars went toward office rent, catering and conference lodging; all things not covered by the particular grant at hand. An April audit by the Auditor General finds LETSB misused training money.

It's something executive director Kevin McClain says could help the board improve.

"It's not unexpected that we would have some findings. As a matter of fact, I appreciate the oversight so that we can run a better program."

In a number of instances, money paid for things not directly tied to training.

"The important thing would be that it directly relates to the purpose for which the money is given to you and that it ties into the mission and to the reason that they gave you the money."

Which, apparently wasn't the case in May 2011, when the agency applied more than $30,000 to catering and lodging at a conference. McClain says the fees made sense at the time.

"It seems to me that when you train people, you have to have facilities to do it, so I'm not sure why they would think that that's not proper."

But, the audit found less than 8% of that dollar amount was spent on training; citing that the $10,000 that went to "handouts, application packets and awards," wasn't warranted. It's something the Illinois Policy Institute agrees with.

"A lot of times these government junkets are more social than they are for training, so I think it's perfectly reasonable for the legislature to try to make sure that this money goes where it's intended."

On top of those costs, the group paid nearly $14,000 for office rent. McClain says that won't ever happen again.

The State Auditor's Office does dozens of audits each year. Three years ago, it set up a toll-free hotline. People can all it 24/7 to report fraud.

For more information, click here or call (855) 217 - 1895.

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