* From Illinois Public Radio…
As Gov. Pat Quinn battles a lawsuit accusing his administration of political hiring, the state watchdog charged with investigating ethics violations is asking to get involved.
Confidentiality restrictions prevent the Inspector General from saying what he is or isn’t looking into.
But a letter to the Attorney General tiptoes to the very edge of admitting that there’s some sort of investigation relating to hiring Illinois’ Department of Transportation. In the letter, Inspector General Ricardo Meza says the court has been informed of an inspector general investigation that “may be related to, or overlap with” allegations related to an ongoing court case.
Meza writes in the letter that his office may assist the court with “useful information and perspectives” as it decides on a lawsuit brought by Michael Shakman.
* From Meza’s letter…
Although confidentiality provisions in the Ethics Act prevent the OEIG from directly commenting on or confirming the existence of an ongoing investigation, or on a completed but not yet released OEIG Final Summary report, the OEIG understands that the Court has been informed about the status of an OEIG investigation that may be related to, or overlap with, allegations that have been made in this matter.
The OEIG therefore believes that appearance as amicus curiae may assist the Court with useful information and perspectives that may aid the Court in determining whether any relief should be granted and, if so, what form any such relief should take.
A Madigan spokesman said the attorney general’s office has confirmed with Meza that it will represent him.
A Quinn spokesman indicated the governor’s office would respond to the letter later Thursday afternoon .
Shakman, meanwhile, said he does not view Meza’s request as being “inconsistent with what we’re doing.”
“I read the letter saying the inspector general has statutory duties that include some of the same subject matter we’re dealing with at the federal courthouse and through our request for a federal monotiror so he’d like to have a chance to appear before the court and address what should be done,” Shakman told Early & Often, the Chicago Sun-Times’ online political portal. “That’s fine. Maybe we’ll agree with him. Maybe we won’t.”
There’s no update with the Quinn response. Imagine that.
* From the Illinois Republican Party…
In case you haven’t been following the story, here’s a brief summary:
The Better Government Association found one of the biggest agencies under Gov. Pat Quinn’s control – the Illinois Department of Transportation, or IDOT – has been skirting federal hiring guidelines.
IDOT jobs under Pat Quinn have gone to political insiders over qualified workers.
Michael Shakman is suing for access to documents and a federal hiring monitor to prevent more Quinn patronage.
Pat Quinn refuses to turn over thousands of hiring documents and won’t allow a federal hiring monitor.
Bruce Rauner has called on Quinn to withdraw his motion in federal court and allow a federal hiring monitor at IDOT.