Illinois CDL probe produces more allegations

| 7/2/2002

Federal prosecutors in the Illinois license-for-bribes investigation allege Gov. George Ryan was urged in memos by his former chief of staff to fire investigators who asked questions about campaign fund-raising in Ryan's office when he was secretary of state, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Scott Fawell allegedly sent Ryan memos in 1994 and 1995, urging him to "shake up" the inspector general's office where the investigators worked. Fawell, who also was Ryan's campaign manager, is awaiting trial on federal charges.

The charges stem from the government's four-year investigation into the selling of driver's licenses for bribes. To this point, 57 state employees and others have been charged and 45 convicted. The remaining 12 are awaiting trial.

Federal prosecutors allege $170,000 in bribes were paid in return for driver's licenses, mostly CDL's. The money then found its way into Ryan's campaign fund.

Ryan has not been charged in the investigation. A spokesperson for the governor, responding to the newest allegations, told the newspaper Ryan doesn't recollect seeing such a memo or having a discussion with Fawell or anyone else.

Federal prosecutors filed the document in an effort to convince U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer that $1 million must be reserved from Ryan's campaign fund to pay restitution. Ryan's lawyers countered that $200,000 would be enough.