CHICAGO (CBS) — A day after enduring several hours of political bickering, members of a legislative panel officially postponed further hearings into Gov. Pat Quinn’s scandal-plagued Neighborhood Recovery Initiative to avoid possibly compromising a criminal investigation by the feds.
WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports the bipartisan Legislative Audit Commission rescheduled questioning of seven former Quinn aides about the controversial $55 million anti-violence program until Oct. 8.
State Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley), the Democratic co-chair, said lawmakers will check in with federal prosecutors in Springfield before then.
“If either the investigation is done, or there’s someone that we should not talk to, then we will respect that,” he said.
The commission had subpoenaed seven former Quinn aides to testify about their roles in deciding how NRI spent $54.5 million in state funds, in light of a state audit that concluded the program was poorly managed and misspent money.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Springfield had asked the panel to delay interviews of any witnesses for 90 days, amid the ongoing federal investigation.
All but one witness declined to show up for Wednesday’s hearing, and lawmakers spent nearly eight hours debating how to proceed, but did not reach an agreement on when to reschedule testimony until Thursday morning.
Meantime, about two dozen teenagers from the ARK of St. Sabina youth program protested outside the hearing, calling on lawmakers not to make cuts to anti-violence programs they say keep them from going down the wrong path.
“Mainly because of the ARK, I chose the right way, because they showed me there was plenty of opportunities out here. That way, I could do right. That way, I could help other kids do right,” Anthony Lovelace said.