Did the NRI hearings produce a smoking gun to implicate the governor? State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), the Republican co-chairman of the Legislative Audit Commission, says so, and he has said publicly he thinks Gov. Pat Quinn will end up in jail. The governor says that’s silly. “He’s wrong about that and he knows it,” Quinn said. The commission just completed a two-day hearing on the anti-violence effort which the state auditor criticized as poorly run, and which Republicans have said was a political slush fund for the governor.
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Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner says the hearings did produce disturbing findings. “They clearly were using the money for NRI, coordinating it with determining the impact and the benefits they could get for Quinn’s re-election by spending the money before the election (in 2010) and making it part of the get-out-the-vote process,” he said.
Rauner noted that the federal prosecutors in Springfield and Chicago are still examining the evidence. “We’ll see what happens from here, but you know what? This is serious business and I think Pat Quinn’s in big trouble,” he said. Quinn says the testimony revealed everyone acted properly, and he ended the program when he realized it was being sloppy with money.