NPR Story
5:41 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Election-Year Fight Over What's Next In Probe Of Quinn's NRI

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 6:02 pm

After a day-long meeting Wednesday, a legislative commission will meet again Thursday morning in Chicago. They're set to begin with a call to the U.S. Attorney's office. Democrats and Republicans are at a standstill over what to do next in their probe of Gov. Pat Quinn's controversial anti-violence program.

Lawmakers wanted seven former high-level members of the Quinn administration to testify about the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, a program unveiled in 2010 through which the state distributed grants to Chicago-area organizations to help make neighborhoods safer and keep kids out of trouble. But an audit and cascade of media reports have raised questions about whether it was used to help Quinn's last campaign for governor.

The bipartisan legislative commission was largely in agreement when it voted earlier this summer to subpoena the Quinn officials.

Not anymore.

Federal prosecutors have asked the commission to delay for 90 days ... so as to not interfere with their criminal investigation.

Democrats, like Sen. John Mulroe of Chicago and Republicans, like Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove,  disagree about what to next; Republicans want to schedule a specific next hearing date in October; Democrats don't.

MULROE: "We put that provided he says it's okay to proceed ..."

SANDACK: "Because he's already told us it's okay to proceed, and you frankly don't believe that. And I'm offering you an opportunity ..."

MULROE: "He doesn't have a crystal ball, Ron."

That's lead to a standstill.

None of the former Quinn aides gave material testimony at this initial hearing; their attorneys largely cited deference to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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