Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has called a criminal investigation into Pat Quinn's $55 million anti-violence program at a most inopportune time for the Illinois governor as he seeks re-election this year.
A criminal grand jury slapped Quinn with a subpoena last month, and on Tuesday, his administration forked over 1,000-plus documents relating to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Quinn launched the grant program in 2010 while running for re-election against Republican rival Bill Brady; since then, it has gained a reputation among critics for being disorganized, neglecting to monitor how tax money was spent and acting as a cover for a "political slush fund."
In a statement Tuesday night, the governor's press secretary, Izabela Miltko, said: "Everyone knows (Quinn) has been cleaning up state government since the day he arrived and always works to root out any problems whenever they should arise."
Alvarez's office requested the names and identities of those who received grants under the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, singling out $10 million in projects overseen by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). One of those is the Chicago Area Project, which aims to reduce violence in the West Garfield Park neighborhood; as previously reported by the Sun-Times, almost seven percent of the $2.1 million in funds allocated for the effort went into the hands of the husband of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.
"The director of DCEO Adam Pollet has no tolerance for any misconduct or misuse of funds by our grantees. We are actively working with the state’s attorney’s office to provide all the records and information it requests,” said department spokesman Dave Roeder in a statement.
Not missing an opportunity to throw shade upon his competitor, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rainer quickly pounced with a missive of his own, stating through his publicist: "Today marks a new low even by Quinn-Blagojevich standards."