Republican lawmakers welcome a federal probe into an anti-violence program championed by Gov. Pat Quinn. The comptroller’s office says the U.S. Department of Justice requested information about the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI), which was set up by Quinn just before the 2010 election. A state audit earlier this year slammed the program for being mismanaged. While State Rep. David Reis (R-Sainte Marie) isn’t saying Quinn broke the law, he believes it does make him look hypocritical.
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“This is what people are angry about,” Reis said. “You know, the governor comes out for years and says how he’s cleaning up state government and rooting out and being transparent, and it comes out that maybe he wasn’t, and it went to the extent of using millions and millions of dollars as maybe a political slush fund.”
Reis is one of several Republicans who signed a March 6 letter asking the U.S. attorneys in Springfield and Chicago to investigate NRI. Those lawmakers claim that there’s no political motivation behind their actions.
“I don’t care if it’s Republican or Democrat,” said State Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon). “If you’re spending and wasting our tax dollars at a time when we’re basically broke, we’re gonna look hard, and we’re gonna come after you.”
The program is also being investigated by the Cook County state’s attorney. Quinn’s office says it has turned over more than 1,000 documents under that request, and will cooperate with all inquiries.