Quinn defends handling of anti-violence program amid probe

Gov. Pat Quinn defended his handling of an anti-violence program Friday amid investigations. (WLS)
May 9, 2014 8:19:37 AM PDT
Gov. Pat Quinn defended his handling of an anti-violence program Friday as federal and state investigators are taking a closer look at how money was spent in the program.

"I was the first one to investigate this two years ago," Quinn said. "We did something about it."

The governor said that his administration found and corrected problems in the state's anti-violence program in 2012, long before the Illinois auditor general documented poor record-keeping and questionable salaries.

"There were too many salaries given to adults that weren't deserved," Quinn said.

The $55 million effort, launched after Chicago's murderous summer of 2010, was supposed to help young people find jobs in high-crime neighborhoods. But among the salaried adults paid at various agencies were democratic Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown's husband - paid over $145,000 - and democratic State Rep. Will Davis' wife, who made $137,000.

"This was a political slush fund," said Republican State Senator Matt Murphy.

Murphy said Quinn, running for election in 2010, used taxpayer money to drive turnout in heavily democratic African-American neighborhoods.

"People who were receiving the money knew they were getting the money and they knew it before the election," Murphy said.

"No money was distributed to any organization until well after the election," Quinn said.

"He got the contracts signed before the election, and they had the money within days of delivering the work," Murphy said.

Quinn called the claim "completely false."

But the U.S. Attorneys' Office requested program spending records and the Cook County State's Attorney also subpoenaed related documents.

"I think we should provide any and all information to all these authorities and have them look at it," Quinn said.

Meanwhile, republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner told voters that a third IIllinois governor in a row is now under federal scrutiny. But Quinn said the inquiry is not directed at him, but at the program that he investigated and reformed.

"I don't ignore things, I don't shuffle them under the rug," Quinn said. "I take an issue that's confronting us and resolve it."

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