Federal funds may have been misused as part of a state anti-violence program at the center of a criminal investigation. U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) says millions in federal disaster aid tied to Hurricane Ike went into the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative as part of a loan program for small businesses. According to a Chicago Tribune report, a Chicago business development group named Chicago Community Ventures never made any loans, but kept $150,000 after the state ended its contract with the organization.

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“The question I would have is: who walked away with the money?” Kirk said. “Can we get an effective federal investigation of this to make sure that…you know, disaster funds are hard enough to come across.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he wasn’t aware of federal money being involved in the NRI.

“The investigation of what occurred and how that money was spent has to be done for the taxpayers of this country,” Durbin said. “I thought it applied just to state funds, but if it applies to federal funds, we may have to expand it.”

The NRI is already a subject of an investigation by federal prosecutors.

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