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Secretary of State launches ethics probe of Ald. Beale’s wife

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Updated: February 26, 2012 8:16AM

SPRINGFIELD — The wife of Ald. Anthony Beale is the subject of an ethics probe for undisclosed “job performance” issues, Secretary of State Jesse White’s office confirmed Tuesday.

Dana Beale was hired by the secretary of state in 2000 and worked as an enforcement auditor in White’s securities division until last May, when she resigned from her $79,620-a-year post.

Despite leaving that job eight months ago, she remains under investigation by James Burns, the secretary of state’s inspector general and a former U.S. attorney, White spokesman Dave Druker said.

“The inspector general is conducting an investigation pertaining to her job performance in the secretary of state’s office,” Druker said, declining to offer any other specifics about the nature of the investigation.

Burns declined comment.

Dana Beale is a legislative aide to state Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island) who receives a “token” $400-a-month state paycheck for helping, as Rita described, “serve more than 100,000 constituents … [handling] constituent service requests for help and community outreach activities.”

In a statement, Rita said he knew nothing about the investigation in White’s office and said he did not intend to place her on leave pending the outcome of that probe.

“I have no knowledge of any of the activities within the secretary of state’s office as they relate to Dana Beale. I have no plans to change Dana’s employment status at my office at this point in time,” Rita said.

Asked about the internal investigation, Ald. Beale (9th) said he hadn’t heard of it and insisted his wife was “absolutely not” forced out of the secretary of state’s office in 2011. The probe started before her departure, a source said.

“Right now both of my sons are in a very crucial time in terms of being teenage boys,” the alderman said. So the couple decided it was best for Dana Beale to be a “stay-at-home mom,” he said.

The alderman said his wife surely was putting in a full day’s work while working for Jesse White.

“She got up every day and went to work,” Anthony Beale said.

Dana Beale did not return a message seeking comment.

Rita and Ald. Beale were the subjects of a joint Chicago Sun-Times and Better Government Association investigation Monday that outlined how the state lawmaker gave the alderman’s daughter a “legislative scholarship” to attend the University of Illinois — a perk worth about $37,000.

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