The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that aides to Illinois' then-Secretary of State George Ryan had evidence six years ago that license employees were selling driver's licenses - long before federal officials started indicting employees in a CDLs-for-cash scandal.
The newspaper reports that a 1993 investigation, headed by the Lake County state's attorney and Inspector General Dean Bauer, uncovered information that licenses were sold at the Libertyville facility and as many as three other license offices.
Seven people were convicted in the Libertyville case in 1993. However, the Tribune alleges that a briefcase filled with tickets to campaign fundraisers that belonged to a regional manager targeted in the investigation never was entered as evidence. The briefcase was taken by Bauer, a longtime friend of Ryan, during a March 9, 1993, raid of the Libertyville facility, the paper says.
The federal investigation that began a year ago has so far resulted in the indictments of 17 people, 14 of whom have pleaded guilty. More than 500 people paid bribes or bought fundraising tickets in exchange for a passing grade on the commercial driver's license exam.
A spokesman for Ryan, now governor, denied that Ryan or his aides had such evidence.