* 4:26 pm: US Attorney James Lewis sent a letter to the co-chairmen of the Legislative Audit Commission today asking again that the Commission delay testimony of subpoenaed Quinn administration officials. Read it here.
As you may recall, Republicans and the Chicago Tribune have wondered aloud why the legislative liaison branch of the US Department of Justice asked for the delay of hearings on the anti-violence program instead of the US Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, who is actually handling the case. The letter makes it clear that the US Attorney himself asked the DoJ to make the initial request…
The Assistant Attorney General made that request to the Commission on behalf of the Department of Justice and our office because we are conducting an ongoing criminal investigation as to conduct associated with NRI. We asked [the Office of Legislative Affairs] to make that request because we are genuinely concerned that interviews and testimony about the matter during this 90-day time period would pose several substantial risks to our ongoing investigation.
We recognize and appreciate the importance of the Commission’s work. For that reason, we have asked only for the deference that we believe is necessary to avoid interference with our investigation. As you know, we have not asked the Commission to defer its collection or disclosure of documents or records as to NRI.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
* 4:54 pm - The Republicans on the Commission are preparing a joint response. Stay tuned.
* 5:17 pm - The GOP response…
Late this afternoon, the Legislative Audit Commission received a request from James A. Lewis, United States Attorney, Central District of Illinois, to defer conducting interviews or receiving testimony from individuals in connection with the State of Illinois’ Neighborhood Recovery Initiative for 90 days.
The request came because the office is “conducting an ongoing criminal investigation,” according to Lewis.
The bipartisan, bicameral Legislative Audit Commission will consider the U.S. Attorney and Department of Justice request at the public hearing scheduled for 10am Wednesday and 9am Thursday, if necessary, at the Michael J. Bilandic Building, Room 600, Chicago.
The Legislative Audit Commission will convene as planned. All witnesses – including those subpoenaed — are expected to attend as scheduled.
Sen. Jason Barickman, Co-Chair
Rep. David Reis
Sen. Bill Brady
Rep. Ron Sandack
Sen. Jim Oberweis
Rep. Rich Brauer