State Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, on Monday called for a federal inquiry into Gov. Pat Quinn’s $54 million neighborhood crime program that was slammed by the state’s auditor general last week and likened to a “political slush fund,” by one Republican. […]
“Those comments are ridiculous and irresponsible,” said Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson. “As we’ve made clear repeatedly, these issues were resolved more than a year ago.”
Anderson said it was an investigation by the governor’s office that unearthed issues when they came to light in 2012. After that, Quinn immediately moved to abolish the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, which was created before him, Anderson said. The program still exists and Anderson said as far as the political accusations — not one dollar was awarded until after the 2010 election. […]
“I think there are significant questions. We are actually going to be asking the auditor to forward his findings to the inspector general as well as to the federal prosecutors to take a look at it,” Radogno said after speaking to the City Club of Chicago. “I think there is plenty of reason to think there may have been actual crimes committed, but I don’t know that at this point … I think it’s premature to use the I-word. I think that we need to look further into it.”
When asked if she had reason to believe the line was crossed by intermediaries or the governor himself, Radogno responded: “Probably all of the above.”
As subscribers already know, the claims about no money being expended before the election are technically true. However, lots and lots of contracts were signed before the election. Those groups knew a pile of state cash was heading their way well before election day.
And, frankly, it doesn’t matter when the issues were “resolved.” What matters is if anyone associated with this program broke the law. I don’t think a further investigation would hurt.