Illinois lawmakers can’t agree on their next step involving Governor Pat Quinn’s troubled anti-violence program. The Legislative Audit Commission held a day-long hearing Wednesday about whether to press ahead with an investigation into the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. They’ll resume the meeting Thursday morning with a call to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Federal prosecutors have asked the commission to wait 90 days before questioning former Quinn employees about the Initiative. The anti-violence program was set up in 2010 and was the focus of a state audit that determined it misused money and was poorly managed. Legislators have launched their own investigation into The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, with Republicans claiming the Democratic Governor used the $55-million program as a political slush fund to garner votes. Quinn denies that.
The legislative investigation has been running concurrently with a federal probe. The bi-partisan commission has agreed to delay their investigation so it doesn’t interfere with the federal findings. However, lawmakers can’t agree on how long to wait before resuming their research.
Republicans want to call witnesses in October. Democrats reject that time frame, which is very close to the fall election. Wednesday's hearing devolved into partisan disagreements between commission members. Only one of the seven former Quinn employees called upon to testify actually showed up for the hearing. Lawyers for those witnesses say they will provide evidence to the commission, but did not want to appear if federal investigators were against it.