Feds Probe Quinn's Anti-Violence Program

Federal prosecutors have asked for information related to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program which has also been the subject of a scathing state auditor's report and a probe by the Cook County state's attorney.

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's spokesman Brad Hahn confirmed Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice called the office in March to ask for details related to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative Program — and anti-violence effort in Chicago that was championed by Quinn — and information was turned over. He declined to give further details.

"It's a legal matter," Hahn said. "We can't comment."

"If there is an inquiry, we fully support it," Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. "We have zero tolerance for any mismanagement at any state agency."

Federal officials are requesting contracts, signed checks and vendor information in connection with the $54 million, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The newspaper first reported that almost 7 percent of the program money earmarked for Chicago was given to Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown's husband, Benton Cook III.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez first called for a criminal investigation into the anti-violence program earlier this week.

Bruce Rauner, Quinn's Republican opponent in the gubernatorial campaign, pounced on the news Thursday. Rauner's campaign staff handed out fliers at Chicago's Thompson Center announcing a Quinn Corruption Hotline with the phone number 855-PAT-TIPS.

"It really was more of a campaign stunt, and a way to funnel taxpayer money to political machine operators around Chicago to help Pat Quinn's reelection bid last time, rather than to truly try to deal with terrible violence problems we have in Chicago," Rauner said.

The Quinn administration has already handed over 1,000 pages of information to Alvarez's office -- at first, editing some pages and after a second subpoena, releasing all of the information asked for.

The Quinn campaign attempted to change the subject Thursday, releasing a video critical of Rauner's support of charter schools and raising questions about the mismanagement of nursing homes that Rauner's company invested in.

"That's just mudslinging and it's false. That's all been investigated, there's no issue there, they're just trying to put out a diversionary tactic when they say that," Rauner said.

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