Gov. Quinn's Bad Week: Now Facing Two Investigations

Gov. Quinn's Bad Week: Now Facing Two Investigations

U.S. Transportation Department also asked to probe use of federal funding for alleged 'patronage' jobs.
WTVO/WQRF -- In the heat of a high-profile re-election fight with Republican nominee Bruce Rauner, Gov. Pat Quinn finds himself fending off accusations on several fronts.

The most recent involve allegations the Governor illegally filled posts at the Illinois Department of Transportation with patronage jobs.  Not only has the Goverrnor's office acknowledged the Illinois Inspector General's office is looking into whether the hirings violated hiring practices mandated by the Supreme Court, but a lawsuit has also been filed against the Governor.  And now, Congressional Republicans are asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate whether federal funds were used to undermine the law.

In a letter to the Inspector General of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, seven Republican Congressman from Illinois including Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) IL-16 and Sen. Mark Kirk (R) IL seeking "an immediate investigation to determine the extent to which federal funds were used to subsidize or justify the potentially illegal hiring of dozens of patronage workers at the Illinois Department of Transportation."  A copy of the letter is below.

This comes on top of another investigation by the Cook County State's Attorney in which a grand jury has reportedly been convened to see if $55 million dollars for anti-violence programs in Chicago were misspent as part of an alleged political 'slush fund.'  Quinn's office has confirmed records related to the 'Neighborhood Recovery Initiative Program' have been subpoenaed.  Quinn awarded the money in the month before his re-election for Governor in 2010.  An auditor's report released in late 2013 revealed that millions from it were either wasted or could not be accounted for.

Appearing at an event at the Capitol, Quinn insisted he has done nothing wrong, and if problems are found, he'll work to fix them.  "Anytime there is a problem in state government, I roll up my sleeves, I identify the problem, get to the bottom of it, root out the cause, and move our state forward.  That's what anybody whose running a government or a large institution has to do."

Both investigations, however, are a potential black mark on a campaign which early polls show will be a tough re-election fight for the Governor.

Here is the text of Illinois Congressional Republicans to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation:

Calvin L. Scovel III, Inspector General
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave SE, West Blding7th Floor
Washington, DC 20590

Mr. Scovel:

Last week, a motion was filed in U.S. District Court against Illinois Governor Pat Quinn alleging illegal hiring practices at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), including the appointment of dozens of patronage workers to non-policy making positions in violation of a 1989 Supreme Court decision (Rutan).

According to the Associated Press, Governor Quinn "told reporters Monday that there were federal stimulus dollars that had to be spent quickly and efficiently, along with a massive capital bill" and said "the increase in jobs free from hiring rules at the Illinois Department of Transportation were 'absolutely' necessary."

Additionally, according to the Associated Press, in a court proceeding on April 29, Governor Quinn’s office acknowledged “an ongoing investigation by Illinois’ inspector general of hiring practices”. 

We write with extreme concern that federal funds were directly or indirectly involved in a scheme to subvert state hiring practices as mandated by the Court.  Federal funds should never be provided to states to subsidize or justify political patronage.  If the State of Illinois misused federally appropriated funds in this way, the American people deserve to know.

Therefore, we request that you launch an immediate investigation to determine the extent to which federal funds were used to subsidize or justify the potentially illegal hiring of dozens of patronage workers at IDOT and, further, to make recommendations to ensure such misuse of federal funds can never happen again.

Sincerely,

The letter is signed by - U.S. Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Rodney Davis, John Shimkus, Randy Hultgren, Aaron Schock, Peter Roskam and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk.

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