(CBS) — The former head of an agency that oversaw a controversial anti-violence program is defending it to lawmakers, reports WBBM’s Nancy Harty.

Members of a state legislative committee peppered former Illinois Violence Prevention Authority Executive Director Barbara Shaw about the Neighborhood Recover Initiative, including the timing of a 2010 request.

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“I was checking in with Anne to see if those raises had been approved which was part of our HR relationship,” Shaw told the committee.

When asked if the request came the day after the election, Shaw said it was well before that. Republican State Representative Ron Sandack also pressed her on when Governor Quinn’s office asked her to expand the program.

“Maybe that’s what this is all about, getting this done right before an election? Had that crossed your mind?” Sandack asked.

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Shaw answered, “What crossed my mind and what I responded to was an urgency of the violence problem in the Chicago area.”

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports nonpartisan state auditor Bill Holland had lit the NRIfuse with his scathing audit last spring, calling the program: “hastily implemented and poorly managed.”

In her testimony, Shaw confirmed only Chicago pols in vote-rich African-American areas got program money.

“Organizations that had somehow heard about this and sent in information saying that they wanted to apply for these funds they were not the agency selected by their local alderman to apply for these funds,” Shaw said.

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The two-day hearing comes a month before the gubernatorial election. Thursday’s big witness is Jack Lavin, Quinn’s former chief of staff, who allegedly wrote, about spending money in the African-American community in the final days of the race. According to Lavin’s email: “If we take care of this, we win.”