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Quinn-Kirk Relationship Cools After Call For Probe On Disaster Spending

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Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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(CBS) — Waukegan Harbor has now been formally removed from the list of the nation’s worst toxic clean-up sites, thanks in part to a job well done by two influential Illinois politicians who played important roles.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine says while Governor Pat Quinn and Senator Mark Kirk were celebrating Tuesday, they were not celebrating together because Kirk, the Republican, supports Quinn’s opponent, Bruce Rauner, and has been raising new questions about a controversial program already under investigation.

They arrived separately; Governor Quinn with an entourage including Senator Dick Durbin and Kirk was alone. There was a polite greeting and a quick handshake, mostly blocked by still photographers, before both spoke at the event marking the end of a 27 year, $150 million cleanup of Waukegan Harbor.

Both had played key roles in finally getting the job done. But there was a decided chill between them after Kirk’s questioning disaster relief funds finding their way into Quinn’s controversial anti-violence program.

“It does seem that people were pretty fast and loose with the appropriated purpose for the funds,” Kirk said.

“If there’s been any misuse of federal or state funds let’s have a full accounting,” Durbin said.

Asked if it reflects poorly on Quinn, Durbin said, “You’re assuming that he had a role in it and I don’t know.”

Quinn claimed he had permission from the feds to use that money. Durbin was a lot more certain about Quinn’s opponent Bruce Rauner’s registering several corporations in the Cayman Islands.

“I think that the companies that do this have something to hide or are at least trying to avoid taxes and that’s something most Americans or most Illinoisans don’t have the benefit of,” Durbin said. “We pay our taxes and don’t run off to foreign countries to try and absolve ourselves of the responsibility.”

Rauner, who’s holding a fund-raiser this week, at his ranch in Wyoming, has maintained that the Cayman Corporations were perfectly legal and that he avoided no personal taxes whatsoever. Quinn says “prove it.” Show us complete copies of last year’s tax returns. Rauner who released an abbreviated return last year, says he will release this year’s but hasn’t yet.

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