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The two candidates who want to be Illinois' next treasurer have different ideas for improving the image of the office, which has been tarnished by a sexual harassment suit and questions of whether taxpayer dollars were used in mixing state and political business.

Former House Republican Leader Tom Cross said he wants to create a government integrity unit charged with reviewing state financial documents. Democratic state Sen. Mike Frerichs, meanwhile, says he would publish his schedule online and blunt "cronyism and corruption" with a self-imposed audit of the office.

Both candidates say the office needs to reduce travel costs spent on the treasurer's I-Cash unclaimed property program. Current Treasurer Dan Rutherford has weathered criticism for using state funds to travel to program events throughout the state which were held in close proximity to political fundraisers. Rutherford had defended his mixing of activities as the byproduct of him working long hours for Illinois.

The race for treasurer, the state's chief investment officer, has been marked with unusual intensity as it is the lone open statewide post on the November ballot. Rutherford is vacating the seat after his GOP primary bid for governor fizzled last spring after a harassment suit was filed by a former employee.

The 56-year-old Cross enjoys better name recognition after his two decades as a legislator in Springfield. The 41-year-old Frerichs claims he has more financial expertise after serving previously as Champaign County's auditor.

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