Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Quinn's Anti-Violence Program Director Could Get Subpoenaed

Illinois lawmakers will soon decide whether to summon Barbara Shaw for questioning

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program continues to be a target for Republicans backing Bruce Rauner's bid to depose the Democratic incumbent.

    A legislative panel will decide Monday whether to subpoena Barbara Shaw -- who formerly oversaw the the Democratic incumbent's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative -- and summon her for questioning.

    "Why did this thing go from zero to 50 overnight?" asked GOP state Sen. Jason Barickman in a WJBC radio interview. "The governor's office has tried to throw this person under the bus. I think she needs to come forward and explain herself to us."

    Now retired, Shaw was director of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority when Quinn introduced the $54.5 million program shortly before 2010's gubernatorial election, prompting Republican critics to label the NRI a political "slush fund." A state audit released February cited it for mismanagement and lack of responsibility in accounting for state grant money that went missing.

    The program is now under state and federal investigation.

    Barickman, of Champaign, sits on a subcommittee of the Legislative Audit Commission alongside Rep. David Reis, a fellow Republican, and Democratic Reps. John Mulroe and Robert Rita, who's expressed uncertainty on issuing a subpoena.

    "As you well know, there are just a lot of unanswered questions about why she chose to do things the way she did," Reis told the Sun-Times on Tuesday. "I don’t now how Mulroe or Rita can vote against having her come in and having her answer questions. It would make no sense to me, but that’s their decision."

    Running for governor on the Republican ticket, Rauner -- a Winnetka-based venture capitalist whose supporters include billionaires as well as state lawmakers -- has repeatedly invoked the NRI scandal in increasingly negative crusade against Quinn.