August 21, 2014. Chicago. (ONN) In 2009, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn replaced Governor Rod Blagojevich when he was sent to prison. With a tough election to keep the Governor’s seat only months away, Quinn announced the creation of a $55 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative to be managed by his Illinois Violence Prevention Program. But the program turned out to be a widespread bribery scheme to buy votes for the Governor’s re-election. Now, it turns out that the state’s top law enforcement official - Attorney General Lisa Madigan - was at the center of the possibly criminal scandal all along.
Both state and federal criminal investigators are looking into Governor Quinn’s and AG Lisa Madigan’s scandal-plagued anti-violence program. Image courtesy of CapitolFax.com.
The $55 million anti-violence program is currently under investigation both on the state level, as well as the federal level. An avalanche of local news investigations has traced one payment after another to powerful Democratic Party officials, such as the husband of the Clerk of the Court in Cook County. Payments averaging in the tens of thousands to each recipient have been shown to go straight into the pockets of party leaders, with little of it being used to cut the murder rate in Chicago - the murder capital of the nation.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Now, a shocking report from the state watchdog group For the Good of Illinois shows that the state’s top law enforcement official - AG Lisa Madigan, the daughter of the powerful Speaker of the House - was at the center of the scandal all along. And if there’s one elected official that criminal investigations should focus on, it might not be Governor Quinn. It might be Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
The three people at the head of the criminally accused Illinois Violence Prevention Authority are Dr. Damon Arnold Co-Chair, Attorney General Lisa Madigan Co-Chair, and Barbara Shaw who was the Director of the program. But of the three, AG Lisa Madigan appears to be the one with all the power and control over the $55 million taxpayer-funded political slush fund.
The report reveals that of the 10 members of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, AG Lisa Madigan appointed 5 of them. That also suggests that Gov. Pat Quinn handed over $55 million to the Madigan family to buy the support of local Madigan Democratic Party loyalists throughout the city of Chicago. And that’s exactly where much of the money was traced to - the pockets of wealthy, powerful or connected party officials throughout the Chicago Democratic Party Machine.
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Madigan’s Chief of Staff manages pay-offs
One major indicting piece of evidence against Attorney General Madigan is that her own personal Chief of Staff in the AG’s office was overseeing not only the distribution of the funds now under state and federal investigation, but also in awarding extra taxpayer-funded cash rewards to the program’s coordinators after their successful re-election of Governor Pat Quinn.
Less than three days after the re-election of Governor Quinn, the Director of the scandal-plagued anti-violence program Barbara Shaw was shown to have emailed AG Lisa Madigan’s Chief of Staff Ann Spillane to inquire about financial payments directly to the employees and managers of the criminally tainted program. The email comes right out and explains that since they delivered an election victory for the Governor by using the $55 million in unrecorded and untraceable payments, they now wanted personal financial rewards from the program.
“Hi Ann,” the email from anti-violence program Director Barbara Shaw to AG Lisa Madigan’s Chief of Staff Ann Spillane began, “I’m just checking in to see if there has been a decision on the raises/bonus question for my managers. I don’t know if I made it clear, but I would prefer to do raises, particularly given that, as a result of Tuesday’s outcome, there is now a likelihood that this big initiative will continue beyond one year.” Of course, ‘the result of Tuesday’s outcome’ is referring to Gov. Pat Quinn’s narrow Primary Election victory.
Even more indicting of both Governor Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan is a chain of emails between the two elected officials’ offices, just some of the 14,000 pages of related documents obtained by the Illinois Auditor General. One possibly criminal act occurred when the Illinois Dept of Human Resources gave the Governor’s office the legal okay to direct the Attorney General’s office to hire illegal immigrants with the $55 million in anti-violence program money. Chicago may be a ‘sanctuary city’ for illegals. But the federal government ultimately has jurisdiction, and they may disagree.
State hiring illegal immigrants
In one back-and-forth email chain including a half dozen people from both the Illinois Recovery Initiative, Governor Pat Quinn’s office, and Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, it was program Director Barbara Shaw that asked the Attorney General’s office for a decision on whether or not to give the $55 million in anti-violence money to illegal immigrants. The AG’s office, who has jurisdiction over legal questions, instead asked their Party bosses in the Governor’s office. The decision came from the Director of the IL Dept of Human Services Grace Hou, and the decision was yes.
Credit someone named Jamie Arteaga at Enlace Chicago for actually asking the question. Enlace is a Little Village neighborhood community assistance association that genuinely works to better the lives of the poor and working class Chicagoans and immigrants living in the community. Enlace most likely received a tiny portion of the anti-violence funding for the neighborhood they serve and was at least responsible enough to make sure they weren’t violating any laws in the way it was used.
The watchdog group Open The Books obtained the emails and just published them. “Greetings Barbara,” the email from Enlace’s Jaime Arteaga to program Director Barbara Shaw began, “I assume that all parents and or youth participating in Neighborhood Recovery Initiative programs would need to be documented correct?” Shaw replies to Arteaga that she would have to look into it.
On illegal immigrants in Illinois - “We don’t ask”
Anti-violence program Director Barbara Shaw emailed a host of state bureaucrats, including staffers of Governor Pat Quinn, “The question was raised by a Lead Agency today as to whether the jobs under NRI for youth, young adults and parents have to go only to documented people. Can I get some guidance from the Governor’s Office on this? Thanks, Barbara.”
One of the people that email was sent to was Michelle R.B. Saddler, Governor Pat Quinn’s own Chief of Staff. She passed the question onto four additional women, one of which was the Director of the Illinois Department of Human Resources, Grace Hou. Hou replied to Saddler, “If there aren’t specific eligibility requirements (Medicaid, SNAP) - we generally don’t ask participants of grant programs for information related to their residency status. We don’t ask.”
Is it a crime for government officials to knowingly and willingly funnel taxpayer money to illegal immigrants, when just being an illegal immigrant is a crime in itself? If it is, then Illinois should see a series of federal indictments over the scandal-plagued $55 million anti-violence program. And they might just reach all the way to the top of the Dept of Human Resources, the Attorney General’s office and even the Governor’s office.
For more information, visit For the Good of Illinois.
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