* Sen. Dick Durbin’s response to questions about the governor’s NRI program, which is now under federal investigation, is impossible to argue with..
“I don’t know where the chips are going to fall. I don’t know who’s responsible for wrongdoing here,” said Durbin, D-Ill., Friday in an interview with Early & Often. “I’m not for a whitewash or walking away from it. Let’s find out.” […]
Durbin lauded William Holland, the state’s auditor general, who in February released a blistering review of the program, describing it as “hastily implemented” and said it didn’t target some of the most crime-prone neighborhoods in Chicago. Holland found that Quinn’s administration didn’t “adequately monitor” how state grant dollars were spent or on whom; community organizations that hired people with those funds weren’t maintaining time sheets; and city aldermen dictated where funding was to be steered.
“I’ve known him for years. Years. We worked together on the Senate staff, back many years ago. And he’s been auditor general two decades or more,” Durbin said. “I have the highest respect for his integrity. When he looks at it and says, ‘This needs to be investigated,’ I agree with Bill Holland.”
* Meanwhile, this was a pretty darned good pivot when asked about Jim Oberweis’ charge that he had “bullied” companies like Walgreens to keep them from moving their headquarters overseas…
“I think that’s a senator’s responsibility. To work to keep businesses in this state and to keep them in this country,” Durbin said. “Now, here comes my opponent and he’s saying: “oh, you shouldn’t do this. There’s a reason why he’s saying that. Jim Oberweis is a walking inversion.”
Durbin cited Oberweis’ wife claiming permanent residence in Florida and the husband and wife filing separate taxes to take advantage of tax breaks in Florida.
“Jim Oberweis has refused to disclose his state income tax return. The obvious question is out of the million-dollar-plus salary … how much did he pay Illinois income tax on?” Durbin said. “I think it’s a question he ought to answer. I disclose all my income tax … schedules included.”
* And he called the support of Oberweis by two black ministers a “novelty”…
“I’ll tell you this: If Mr. Oberweis wants this battle fought among African-Americans in Chicago or in Cook County — be my guest,” Durbin said. “I think [with] my voting record, my support of the president and my support of programs that will make a positive difference in their lives, I’ll do quite well.”
* But the Oberweis campaign got in a solid zinger of its own after Durbin called on his opponent to raise wages at his ice cream stores…
“Dick Durbin’s policies have resulted in the worst economic recovery in U.S. history and devastation for the poor and middle class in Illinois,” said Oberweis spokesman Dan Curry. “He’s possibly the last person on Earth Jim Oberweis would go to for advice on how to run his successful businesses.”