Illinois Governor’s Anti-Crime Program May Have Committed Crimes

by Jim Geraghty

Elsewhere in today’s Jolt, an update on the organized-crime organization commonly referred to as the Illinois state government:

Illinois Governor’s Anti-Crime Program May Have Committed Crimes

Indictments of Illinois governors: it’s not a question of “if,” but “when” and “for what”!

In this case, there are allegations of Pat Quinn using state funds to run a slush fund to award his allies. Even by Illinois standards, this looks pretty brazen:

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez issued a sweeping grand jury subpoena seeking records tied to Gov. Pat Quinn’s troubled Neighborhood Initiative Program – including those for a grant involving the husband of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

The Sun-Times previously reported that almost seven percent of the $2.1 million in funds given to the Chicago Area Project meant to combat crime in West Garfield Park went to Brown’s husband, Benton Cook III . . . 

The state’s Auditor General, William Holland, slammed the program in a February audit, saying Quinn’s administration didn’t “adequately monitor” how state grant dollars were spent or on whom; community organizations that hired people with those funds weren’t maintaining time sheets; and city aldermen dictated where funding was to be steered.

Political opponents likened the program to a “political slush fund.” The Quinn administration has said the program was set up in response to a violent summer over 2010 and later, in 2012, the governor supported legislation that moved oversight of the program from the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

This is the detail that a previous Illinois governor might have called golden: “In his review, Holland further found that the state did not allow for a competitive, open application for the money and instead sought recommendations from Chicago aldermen as to what community organizations should get money in the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program.”

Gee. The governor takes a pile of money and claims it’s for crime prevention, and then asks a bunch of Chicago alderman where to spend it? Who could have foreseen something going wrong with that plan?

There is a better option, Illinois voters. His name is Bruce Rauner, and he’s the GOP nominee. Today he’s announcing his campaign has collected “590,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure that would ask voters whether term limits should be introduced.”

Think about it, you might see some Illinois governors leaving their offices not wearing handcuffs.

Only one poll has been conducted this month; it put Rauner up by 3.