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Question of the Day
CHICAGO (AP) - A day after word of a federal probe into Gov. Pat Quinn’s 2010 anti-violence program surfaced, he made the rounds at several Chicago television stations Friday to defend his actions and contend he swiftly corrected problems.
The Chicago Democrat, who faces a tough re-election in November, spent much of the week in Springfield, where legislators were in session. Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said the governor made the five-station Chicago tour to be “accountable.”
The U.S. Department of Justice has asked for information pertaining to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative Program, which Quinn started in 2010 to help fight city violence.
A state audit earlier this year detailed numerous problems, including questions about mismanagement and expenditures. Since then the Cook County state’s attorney’s office has subpoenaed records and federal investigators asked the Illinois comptroller, who pays the state’s bills, for information.
Quinn maintained he moved quickly, ahead of the audit.
“I saw problems in the Neighborhood Recovery Program to fight violence, and we shut it down and abolished the agency which was overseeing it,” Quinn told WMAQ-TV. “I think it’s important to fight violence, but there were problems, and my job as governor is to identify the problems, get to the root of them and straighten it out.”
Also on Friday, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority spokeswoman Cristin Evans said the agency received inquiries from the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield. Evans said the agency is cooperating.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez last month sought records on the anti-violence program from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that (http://bit.ly/1iJ9XNQ ) in her latest subpoena, Alvarez seeks information about the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, which oversaw the Neighborhood Recovery Program. Both were disbanded in 2012 by the Quinn administration.
The subpoena seeks “all documents received by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority when it took control of Illinois Violence Prevention Authority.”
The timing for Quinn hasn’t been good.
His Department of Transportation is also the subject of a federal complaint alleging wrongful hiring and the both probes have been fodder for his Republican gubernatorial challenger, Bruce Rauner.
Rauner, a Winnetka venture capitalist, has likened Quinn to his imprisoned predecessor, ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, including at an appearance in Springfield this week. But Quinn’s campaign says the governor has fought against corruption and has a reputation of integrity.
“We welcome any inquiry by any law enforcement agency,” she said.
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