MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - State agency officials are criticizing a proposed “Fraud Hotline” in which those who report waste in their agencies would get up to five percent of any amount that’s saved.
A Senate committee held a public hearing Wednesday on the hotline, proposed by freshman Senate Republican Rick Gudex of Fond du Lac and Assembly Republican Chad Weininger of Green Bay.
Some state agencies have fraud hotlines that don’t reward people for their tips. Michael Wagner of the Revenue Department says his tip line gets 2,000 calls a year.
He says a financial incentive would increase the number of bogus tips, plus revenge calls from accountants who turn in former partners for tax fraud.
Gudex said the incentive would encourage people to be more open about reporting fraud by somebody they might know.
Sara Buschman of the Department of Children and Families wanted to know what types of mismanagement could be reported. Weininger said the bill is intentionally vague, because it’s easier for the Administration Department to sort out the various ways the measure should be applied to different agencies.
Gudex said he was troubled by the criticisms from the agencies. Senate Democrat Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse said she appreciated the testimony, saying the issue is not black and white.
Weininger’s office says 29 other states have fraud hotlines with rewards, as well as Washington D.C. He says the federal government pays up to 25 percent of savings resulting from fraud tips.