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Oregon Govt. Waste Hotline complaints jump 35 percent


The Oregon Audits Division in the Office of the Secretary of State released its annual report on the Government Waste Hotline Wednesday, showing a 35 percent jump in complaints over the previous year.

“The increase in complaints from 2014 is in large part a reflection of the public’s increasing awareness about the Government Waste Hotline and increased outreach efforts to state employees,” said Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins.

“This is good news. We want Oregonians to know that there is a confidential and secure way to report their concerns about possible waste, fraud, and abuse of public resources.”

State law provides confidentiality for the identity of any person making a report through the Hotline. Complaints come from both private citizens and state employees and include allegations of fraud, theft, unethical or improper workplace conduct, time theft, and misuse of state vehicles.

Upon receiving a complaint, the Audits Division conducts an initial investigation of each report of alleged waste, inefficiency, or abuse to determine which reports warrant further investigation.

The Audits Division is required to notify the Oregon Government Ethics Commission if potential violations of the Oregon ethics law are discovered. Law enforcement must be notified if potential criminal activity is discovered.

“Since the hotline’s inception, the Oregon Audits Division has estimated that they have detected about $16 million in questioned costs,” said Atkins. “Research shows that fraud is most often detected by tips from concerned citizens and state employees. This hotline serves as a check on the use of public resources and a deterrent to bad actors.”

A 2016 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that tips are consistently the most common fraud detection method. The study showed that organizations with a reporting hotline have a much higher likelihood that fraud will be reported than organizations without a reporting hotline.

The Government Waste Hotline was established in 1995 for public employees and members of the public to report alleged waste, inefficiency or abuse by state agencies, state employees, or persons under contract with state agencies. In addition to a toll-free telephone line, hotline reports may be submitted by email, fax and by directly calling the Audits Division.

Citizens and government employees with concerns about government waste and inefficiency can contact the hotline at (800) 336-8218, by fax at (503) 378-6767, or through mail by sending an envelope clearly marked “Confidential” to:

Oregon Audits Division
Government Waste Hotline
255 Capitol Street NE, Suite 500
Salem, Oregon 97310

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