Lawmakers question anti-violence program

May 6, 2014

Illinois lawmakers continue to shine a light on a troubled anti-violence program once touted by Governor Pat Quinn. Tuesday, a legislative panel voted to give itself subpoena power. 

The program, known as the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, was meant to address violence in Chicago. But a recent audit says it was hastily implemented and didn't even send money to the most violent communities.

"You read the audit, and it's clear that we have more work to do to get to the bottom of this."

State Sen. Jason Barickman is a Republican from Bloomington, and pushed for the subpoena powers. He acknowledges reports that local and federal prosecutors are already looking into the program. But Barickman says legislators have a duty to find things out for themselves.

"Our efforts here certainly are not duplicative of those in law enforcement."

Gov. Quinn suggests this is old news.

"You know, politics as usual. It's a political time of year. We shut the program down. That's the bottom line. We did it two years ago."

That did happen, but it was long after Republicans first began raising concerns.  They charge it was a political slush fund meant to help Quinn's 2010 campaign.