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FBI Philadelphia Office Announces Hotline To Report Corrupt Public Officials

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Corruption isn't new, but the FBI's corruption hotline is.

The boss of Philadelphia's local FBI office, supported by state and local law enforcement officials, today announced a new hotline designed to help root out public corruption.

Philadelphia FBI special-agent-in-charge George Venizelos (at lectern in photo) says public corruption is its top priority.   He says the FBI added a second corruption squad and increased the number of agents a while back, and this tipline -- 1-855-FBI-TIPS -- is another tool.

Information can be provided anonymously.

Once the information is received, federal authorities might lead an investigation, or might pass it on to state or local authorities and assist them pursuing it.

"Public corruption is a huge problem," says  Pennsylvania inspector general Kenya Mann Faulkner (far left in photo), "and while there are many who are doing the right thing, the few people who are not, we plan to catch them and make them accountable."

It's a top priority, authorities say, because corruption leads to an erosion of the public trust, victimizes

honest public servants, and goes right to the heart of democracy and the rule of law.

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