A request from the U.S. Department of Justice won’t stop next week’s hearings on the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. The Justice Department asked state legislators to wait 90 days before taking testimony on the program, which is also being investigated at the federal level.  State Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) says since that was a request from the department’s lobbying office, not any federal prosecutor, the Legislative Audit Commission is moving ahead as planned.
 
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“If something different happens, we’ll take it in the ordinary course,” Sandack said. “But as we stand here today, I’m aware of no formal request to defer or to stand down that’s consistent with past practices.”  House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) says legislative hearings have been allowed to continue despite related federal investigations, such as when lawmakers impeached former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
 
Sandack says he expects one of the members of the commission to make a motion to not proceed with the hearing when it begins on Wednesday. The commission is made up of six Democrats and six Republicans, and seven votes would be needed to end the hearing.
 
The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative was an anti-violence program put together by the governor in 2010. The state auditor general panned it in February as poorly run; Republicans says it was a political slush fund for the governor.
 
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