Gov. Quinn defends anti-violence program

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Fighting for his job– now fighting allegations of corruption. Governor Pat Quinn, in the midst of a tough re-election campaign, finds a program he started the subject of a federal investigation.

Governor Quinn said not only is his office cooperating with the investigation, he welcomes it. He says

The program his opponents are calling a ‘political slush fund’ was about stopping violence. Not winning elections.

Governor Pat Quinn (D) Illinois “In the case of the neighborhood recovery program no funds were distributed until well after.. after the 2010 election.”

Illinois republicans have a big problem with that; the governor’s repeated contention that a program they call a political slush fund using millions of tax dollars wasn’t handing any out before the hard-fought election in 2010.”

Tonight the communications boss for Quinn’s opponent in this tough campaign says.

Mike Schrimpf, Communications Director for Bruce Rauner:

“The Illinois auditor general showed that Pat Quinn allocated millions of dollars to NRI on October 15, just weeks before the election. Quinn saying no money was spent before Election Day is like Rod Blagojevich saying he’d never try to sell a senate seat.”

And there it is; the connection republicans have been longing to make between a jailed former governor convicted of public corruption and his one-time number-two, now fighting for his job.

It’s a connection abetted by local and now federal investigators.

Neighborhood Recovery Initiative:

-Anti-violence program

-$54.55 million

-“Political Slush Fund”

At the center of it is Pat Quinn’s neighborhood recovery initiative– a program designed to quell a 2010 spike in street violence seeded with around $54 million tax dollars. Critics say while it didn’t stop much violence, it did spread money around acting something like a campaign fund for the democrats.

State Senator Matt Murphy (R) Palatine “Here we go again. We’ve got another governor under federal investigation and actually under a county investigation. The governor, it appears, took a program and took taxpayer money right before a close election and spread it around in a way that looks like political use of taxpayer dollars.”

Not so, says the governor. In fact, pat quinn insists the minute allegations of misspending and errant bookkeeping surfaced, he shut the program down. A point he made no fewer than six times during our one-on-one interview.”

Governor Pat Quinn (D) Illinois “In public life, I believe in taking on, confronting a problem, identifying what the problem is, getting to the bottom of it; rooting it out, and going forward.”

The governor said his office handed-over more than a thousand documents to county investigators this week. Those will no doubt wind up in the hands of the feds as they investigate the neighborhood recovery initiative.

You may recall that when the state auditor’s report came out in February, Illinois republicans immediately called for a criminal investigation.

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