Quinn makes 1st public event since controversial audit

Critics of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said he funneled money from an anti-violence program to his political friends. Quinn said he corrected mismanagement issues before the state audit.
March 13, 2014 2:36:59 PM PDT
Critics of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said he funneled money from an anti-violence program to his political friends. Quinn said he corrected mismanagement issues before the state audit.

On Thursday, actor Martin Sheen leant his star power to the governor's effort to raise the state's minimum wage.

"This good man, as I mentioned, is one of my heroes and he's always in the good fight and it shows. He's covered with scars," Martin Sheen, actor, said.

Quinn is still nursing a fresh political wound inflicted last month when a state audit concluded his 2010, $55 million anti-crime program had been mismanaged. The governor says his own staff corrected the problem two years ago

"We spotted that with the agency that was in charge of it long before any audit came in," Gov. Quinn said. "The job of a governor is to step when you see something going in the wrong direction and straighten it out."

Republicans want a federal investigation. They allege the governor -- who was campaigning for re-election in 2010 -- steered questionable grants to political friends.

"I would like for a prosecutor to look at that and see if they agree the facts support that conclusion," Illinois Senator Christine Radogno, (R) Minority Leader, said.

Senate President John Cullerton said his chamber will take another look at the program when it considers Quinn's next budget.

"We don't want to stop anti-violence programs but we want to make sure the money is being spent wisely," Cullerton (D) said.

Meanwhile, Republicans took a new shot at the governor's fiscal management. They cite Wednesday's report that Illinois' deficit actually grew during the past year and the state is not sharing in the national economic recovery.

"Illinois continues to struggle and I think it's because of the leadership we've had," Radogno said.

The governor blamed Republicans for the mess he says he's still trying to clean up.

"That's the crowd that caused the recession in the first place. OK, you know," Quinn said. "They got us in the ditch and they're telling me I'm not getting us out of the ditch fast enough, OK?"

Four years ago, Quinn made the same argument in 2010 as he convinced Illinois voters to elect him to a full-term. So the question: Will it work again in 2014?

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