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Audit Commission subcommittee votes to subpoena seven Quinn people

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014

* Tribune

A panel of lawmakers reviewing Gov. Pat Quinn’s botched $55 million anti-violence program delivered yet another political blow to the re-election seeking Democrat, voting Monday to subpoena seven former state officials who helped create and run the now-defunct Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

The move initially was aimed at forcing Barbara Shaw, the former director of the program, to testify before the Legislative Audit Commission next month. But Democrats seeking to prevent a summer-long embarrassment for Quinn pushed to expand the scope of the subpoenas, arguing lawmakers should hear from those involved at once instead of over the course of several months.

Republicans eventually agreed to go along, though Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington argued Democrats were trying to orchestrate a “rush job.”

Lawmakers are peeling apart a stinging February report by Auditor General William Holland that said Quinn’s anti-violence program was hastily implemented and had inadequate oversight. The program also has attracted the attention of Cook County and federal authorities.

* The iist besides Shaw

Also on the subpoena list: former Chief of Staff Jack Lavin, who is now a lobbyist; Toni Irving, former deputy chief of staff; Malcolm Weems, head of the Central Management Systems under Quinn; Warren Ribley, former director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; Andy Ross, top aide to Ribley; and senior adviser Bill Ocasio.

* But as the Sun-Times reports, there may be precious little said at the hearings

Shaw’s attorney, John Theis, said late Monday he had not yet seen the subpoena.
“We’re certainly going to review the subpoena,” he said, adding that her testimony is “the likely result, that’s still true.”

Theis, however, was cautious.

“We’ve got these other investigations going on out there. I have to make sure that whatever happens is the right thing not only for the audit commission but for my client,” he said. “We know that there is an investigation going on because of actions they have taken.” Theis would not comment on whether Shaw had been subpoenaed or had spoken to authorities.

* The political angle, from WLS Radio

Democrats on the commission are pushing to get it all over sooner than later, what with the election coming.

But downstate Republican David Reis countered with this. “Some are saying we’re being political here. It’s just as political saying we don’t want to get all the answers. We’re not gonna sweep this under the rug. This is almost Blagojevich-esque.”

So now we have the name of the imprisoned former Governor Rod Blagojevich being tossed around in this scandal. Don’t look for it all to end before the election.

* AP

The rare move — the Legislative Audit Commission last issued subpoenas in the early 1980s — would mean that the former state officials would be compelled to turn in documents and testify next month over two days about the 2010 Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, which was blasted in a state audit earlier this year for mismanagement and misspending. The subpoenas still required a sign off from state Rep. Frank Mautino, a Democratic co-chair of the commission that reviews state audits.

The subcommittee was initially going to take up one subpoena for Barbara Shaw, former director of an agency that was responsible for running the $55 million anti-violence program. But Democrats said they wanted a more complete list to speed up the process.

“It’s about trying to put closure to this,” said state Rep. Bob Rita, a Blue Island Democrat. “What we could do is end these two day hearings, not drag this out.”

* Mark Brown has more

The truth is Republicans don’t like any anti-violence program that doesn’t involve having more police arresting more people and putting them in prison. They particularly don’t like programs that involve hiring young minorities in Chicago to do busywork to keep them from selling drugs and killing each other. They don’t see the point.

That’s why it was particularly foolish for Quinn to sloppily rush out his Neighborhood Recovery Initiative in the fall of 2010 in the guts of his election campaign. These programs serve a useful purpose, which is why it’s important to do them right.

Quinn insists the big rush was solely for the purpose of addressing the violence that had alarmed Chicagoans that summer.

Republicans don’t believe him, and neither do I. While I’m sure the governor was concerned by the violence, I also think he saw it as a good way to make some friends at election time.

Even at the press conference announcing the program, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush stood with Quinn and a group of ministers and said he didn’t know about the rest of them, but that he was going to “Stand pat with Pat” in the election. Sounds political to me.

And Quinn might have even gotten away with it if Illinois Auditor General William Holland hadn’t issued a scathing audit earlier this year about what a mess the program was.

Your thoughts?

* Chicago TV clips helpfully compiled by the Rauner campaign…

* WBBM (CBS) - 6.23.14 - 7 people subpoenaed in connection to Quinn’s troubled Anti-Violence Program

* WMAQ (NBC) - Lawmakers vote to subpoena anti-violence director & former Quinn chief of staff

* WGN - 6.23.14 - Lawmakers vote to subpoena Illinois anti-violence director and others

* WLS (ABC) - 6.23.14. - Lawmakers vote to subpoena Illinois anti-violence director and others

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    Rauner is going to really go after Quinn with this, politically, with the GA now another investigator in a leadership mess. Huge political advantage for Rauner, and that Crew needs this front and center from the GA hearing and beyond.

    Said it yesterday, still believe it as much, if not more; Shaw needs to show up, lawyered up, and clam up.

    Rauner has the instrument to really take a message of mismanagement home and the political theatre of this fiasco is going to have images ready-made for TV. Resources will not be lacking. All Rauner’s Crew needs to do is amplify these negatives beyond reasonable retort.

    The real truth of all this theatre? The slow play hand of the US Attorney after all these questions.

  2. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    I certainly feel highly cynical for saying this but, how long is it until we start reading “The Governor has not been charged with any wrongdoing . . .”?


  3. - Lobo Y Olla - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 9:42 am:

    The truth is Republicans don’t like any anti-violence program that doesn’t involve having more police arresting more people and putting them in prison.

    I’m going to let OW handle this foolish nonsense. Rep. Anthony, for example, is not only law enforcement, he is fully involved in Restorative Justice. This is baloney.

  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 9:43 am:

    –Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington argued Democrats were trying to orchestrate a “rush job.”–

    For crying out loud, the audit came out in February. You need a Red Bull or something to pick up the tempo a little bit?

    You’re on the legislative audit committee. You should have been pushing to air this out months ago before the grand juries got involved and folks started lawyering up.

  5. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    Skeptic is right, but that phrase won’t be printed because of anything this committee does. It will be because of the indictments that contain Individuals A, B, C, etc. that will start dribbling out. Over/under date for the first one is Oct. 1.

  6. - phocion - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    …”These programs serve a useful purpose, which is why it’s important to do them right.”

    I’d like Mark Brown or anyone to provide empirical evidence that these programs serve a useful purpose. Saying so or wishing it doesn’t make it so.

  7. - walker - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Sen. Barickman was pushing for the subpoenas.

    Now they’re issued and he and fellow GOPers are saying it’s all going too fast? What bull.

    That means they’re afraid they won’t get to stretch this out for the whole campaign season as planed. Maybe they can pull an Issa, and call thirteen different committee hearings, when one or two don’t get enough political traction.

    Don’t fret Jason. This things got legs regardless.

  8. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    The headline says it all, “subpoena seven Quinn people.” Follow it up with, “incompetent” and “corrupt” and the message hits home. The Democrats can claim the Republicans are blowing this out of proportion and dragging it out, but that’s not the same as “incompetent” and “corrupt.” Especially with independent voters.

  9. - CirularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    Mitt and JumpingJason should be careful. What a sad day it might be when one of Mitt’s love offerings went to a church or NFP got and anti violence grant
    BTW GOPies once like anti violence grants — the handouts were called literacy grants under BlinkyJim Edgar. Just another day in the way back machine

  10. - Zombies Walking - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    This is the beginning of the end for the Dems’ grip on the State Capitol. This little deal should take us across the finish line, regardless.

  11. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    The truth is Republicans don’t like any anti-violence program that doesn’t involve having more police arresting more people and putting them in prison

    Well demonstrate to me that paying people to hand out flyers against violence reduces violence or any of this other stuff worked..

    Oh, that’s right they decided not to spend money to try and figure that out…

  12. - A guy... - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    At least at this very moment…it looks like a duck.

  13. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    – “incompetent” and “corrupt” –

    I don’t think it can be both.

    If it was corrupt, then obviously you didn’t care what was done with the money as long as it went to the “right” people.

    If it was incompetent, it was just that.

    Time will tell.

  14. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    === “incompetent” and “corrupt” –

    I don’t think it can be both ===

    Uh, Rod Blagojevich?

  15. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    If it’s this easy for a governor and his appointees and political cronies to hand out tens of millions of dollars for vague, poorly constructed initiatives, then we have a problem that will repeat itself over time. After all, Holland cant investigate every gubernatorial “initiative.” There is not enough time. And it seems to be awfully hard to get any of that money back. Did DCFS ever get back any of that missing $9 million somebody may have taken–from children, no less!

    The grant procedures should be tightened up-a lot. I doubt that is a gubernatorial or legislative priority. Better to let a few unfortunate folks risk a spell in jail than turn off or even turn down the free (to the pols) money spigot, when Illinois’ eternally pluckable taxpayers are footing the bill.

  16. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    DD, I was talking about this specific case, and explained my reasoning. I wasn’t talking everything and everyone for all time.

  17. - Birdseed - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    == – “incompetent” and “corrupt” –

    I don’t think it can be both. ==

    Cue the expected comments about the lack of abnormal voting patterns around Cook County…..

    The handing out of the money might be corrupt. The lack of any noticeable irregular voting results might mean incompetent corruption.

  18. - Amuzing Myself - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    The sad thing about all this, besides the lack of actual progress on the violence problem, is that until there’s a bombshell indictment or arrest, the Illinois populous will glaze over when this is in the news. Ho hum. This is Illinois. Happens all the time. That, by itself, is sad.

  19. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    I know, word.

  20. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    ===If it’s this easy for a governor and his appointees and political cronies to hand out tens of millions of dollars for vague, poorly constructed initiatives, then we have a problem that will repeat itself over time. ====

    It was made so easy because the GA did a lump sum budget that year. Quinn could transfer tons of money wherever he saw fit. And he did.

  21. - votecounter - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    According to Senator Murphy he found the money asked who put the money in the budget; nobody would claim it and it was removed. He said it was put back in, was voted on still nobody knows who put it in the bill and it went through.
    This money was for one thing only it was for GOTV! It was vague and poorly constructed for that reason it was not incompetent but it was corrupt.

  22. - dave - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    **This money was for one thing only it was for GOTV! **

    Got any evidence for this?

  23. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    In this case, incompetent and corrupt don’t go together, but I was referring to Rauner political ads. Since when have political ads been logical, accurate, etc.? The point being Rauner will sling mud.

  24. - Hynesguy - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    We knew camp quinn was up to funny business back during 2010 primaries. Ken Dunkin, B. Rush et al. Were, allegedly, all in on it as well as said officials.

  25. - votecounter - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 12:53 pm:


    What was it used for? I was born in Chicago and have lived here all my life that is my “proof”

  26. - AlabamaShake - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    **What was it used for? I was born in Chicago and have lived here all my life that is my “proof”**

    So, no, you don’t have any evidence for anything. Got it.

  27. - votecounter - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    Why was there no sponsor of the “money”? Why would nobody stand up and claim it? Why was it first removed then replaced in the budget? Why when you take a closer look there was only a facade of a program and nothing concrete there? All you have to do is go to the areas the money was targeted for to find out what it’s for. It’s walking around money.
    What is this Casablanca “you mean there is gambling here I’m Shocked shocked?”
    There is no accountability for the money is there? There is no frame work to account for that type of money is there? Can they show who got money and how much?

  28. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    votecounter, take a freaking breath.

    As I explained above in comments, the GA did a lump sum budget that year. Quinn was able to spend cash however he deemed appropriate. The GA did it that way because they couldn’t agree on steep cuts in an election year and because they figured they’d prolly raise taxes after the election.

    Your conspiracy is completely empty and tiresome. Move along.

  29. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 3:45 pm:

    “I was born in Chicago…”

    Thank you, VC, for the Proustian distraction. Good day for it.

    Like Bobby told Robbie, “play f—— loud!”

  30. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 4:19 pm:

    Votercounter logic: I’m always right because I am who am.

  31. - Bill Bob - Tuesday, Jun 24, 14 @ 5:51 pm:

    Blagojevich? Shall we compare the crimes of last two Governors and who went to prison for what? Really?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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