Blagojevich Trial: Director of Ethics Training and Compliance for Illinois Testifies

When I became governor of this great state, one of my goals was to ... restore citizens' trust in their government. If you break these rules, you will pay a price. You can lose your job and you can go to jail.”

— David Keahl on witness stand, reading Rod Blagojevich's ethics training manual statement

A state of Illinois ethics officer has taken the stand and is explaining state ethics laws and training required of state officials.

David Keahl, director of ethics training and compliance for the state's Office of the Executive Inspector General, testifies that state officials are required to complete ethics training once a year.

It's an online computer program with about 100 screens on ethics laws, like what political activities are banned, what gifts are prohibited, etc. Prosecutors show a list of officials who have completed the training, pointing out Rod Blagojevich's name on the list.

In his cross-examination, Sam Adam Jr. questions state ethics training director David Keahl on who is charged with ethics oversight in the Governor's Office. The answer is that office's ethics officer -- in 2003 through 2006, general counsel Bill Quinlan.

"One of the things you brought up today that if you have any questions regarding if something is legal or not, you go and ask questions of the ethics officer. Is that true?" Adam asks. Keahl says yes.

Next on the stand is David Kaehl, who is in charge of the ethics training program for the state office of the executive inspector general. That office, created under Blagojevich as part of a showcase ethics reform package, oversees investigations of alleged misconduct in agencies under the governor’s control. It also administers mandatory annual ethics training for all workers who report to the governor.

The ethics training began in 2004 and Kaehl testified that Blagojevich took it that year and every subsequent year that he was governor.

Schar had Kaehl read excerpts from an ethics pamphlet that the office distributed to all employees. On page four there was a message from Blagojevich.

It began: “Dear state employee, you and I carry a vital responsibility…to earn the public trust.”