Illinois CDL bribe scandal broadens net

| 4/5/2002

The federal probe into the Illinois bribes-for-licenses scandal has hooked two former top aides to Gov. George Ryan and his campaign committee.

Reaching into Ryan's inner circle last Tuesday, authorities announced a 10-count federal indictment accusing then secretary of state Ryan's chief of staff and a campaign insider of corruption, representing a new and significant turn for the 4-year-old federal Operation Safe Road probe.

Authorities charged that Scott Fawell, longtime chief of staff to Ryan when he was secretary of state and manager of his 1998 governor's campaign, oversaw the systematic corruption, accepting more than $10,000, several free vacations and the services of a prostitute in return for awarding a contract to a former state legislator.

Authorities said a former Ryan campaign insider, Richard Juliano, who worked closely with Fawell, has been cooperating for months and will testify for the government at trial. Juliano was charged with one count of mail fraud.

The Citizens for Ryan campaign committee also was charged with wrongdoing. Prosecutors announced they intend to seek forfeiture of at least $1 million in ill-gotten proceeds from the committee and if convicted, could face fines of an additional $1.5 million.

According to the charges, widespread misuse of state employees took place not only in Ryan's campaign for secretary of state in 1994 and his campaign for governor in 1998, but also in the 1994 primary campaign of a state senator.

Secretary of state employees were diverted to work on the campaigns on state time, shredded campaign records and thwarted an internal investigation of wrongdoing into the link between license selling and improper Ryan campaign fundraising efforts in driver's license facilities. They were then rewarded with raises and promotions, the charges allege. Ryan was not accused of any wrongdoing.