No easy fix to IDOT hiring scandal

By Kelsey Gibbs |, Alex Davis |

Published 04/30 2014 06:24PM

Updated 05/12 2014 10:47AM

Latest: 6:05, 5/9/14, Friday
ILLINOIS -- Trying to stop state leaders from hiring people for political reasons may not be easy to fix. The Department of Transportation (IDOT) says reopening the hiring of workers would be tough to do, especially for jobs without restrictions. IDOT says people in those jobs are union members and trying to rehire them could bring a umber of lawsuits. A recent study found state leaders were hiring people for political reasons and not on merit.
Latest: 5:06 pm, 5/6/14, Tuesday
ILLINOIS -- Controversy surrounding Governor Pat Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program continued Tuesday. The Legislative Audit Commission voted 10 to 1 in favor of having subpoena powers to investigate the troubled program.

Republicans claim taxpayer money was misused for political gain. The governor responded by saying, "It's politics as usual." Quinn says this is just an election year ploy, but Republicans say the commission has a responsibility to review the audit.
Update: 5:00 pm, 5/1/14, Thursday
ILLINOIS -- The Department of Justice is now looking into a program run by Governor Quinn and funded by taxpayers. Federal authorities have asked for "copies of all contracts and all payments" connected to the governor's Neighborhood Recovery Program.

The DOJ wants to know if the governor misused money for an anti-violence program in Chicago. Federal prosecutors asked the state to turn over any document pertaining to it.

This isn't the first investigation. It's been reviewed by the State Auditor General, Cook County State's Attorney and now the U.S. Justice Department. State Senator and Chairman of the Legislative Audit Commission, Jason Barickman (R) says the investigation is needed.

The State Auditor's investigation found the program was poorly run. It questioned about 40% of the way money was spent.

The governor's office issued this statement, "If there is an inquiry, we fully support it. We have zero tolerance for any mismanagement at any state agency. That's why the governor abolished this agency nearly two years ago."

The anti-violence program was created four years ago. Its goal was to reduce violence in Chicago's high-crime neighborhoods. It had a $54 million budget. The program was dissolved just two years after it started.
Original: 6:24 pm, 4/30/14, Wednesday
ILLINOIS -- Another day, another political scandal for Governor Pat Quinn to fend off. The administration is accused of using a Chicago anti-violence program as a political slush fund. But, that's not all. Quinn and his administration are fending off allegations from multiple sources.

Last week, it was illegal hiring practices at IDOT. Now, lawmakers from the Illinois Republican Congressional Delegation sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Inspector General calling for a federal investigation into those hires.

At Wednesday's news conference, Governor Quinn skirted questions about the allegations. One top of those issues, prosecutors from Cook County State's Attorney's Office have subpoenaed records from the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

The $55 million anti-violence program has missing paperwork and questionable expenditures. The governor's administration contends Quinn is committed to complying with these probes.

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