The Illinois General Assembly’s Legislative Audit Commission (LAC) will hear testimony on Oct. 8 from individuals involved with Governor Pat Quinn’s failed Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program.
The panel is honoring a request from James Lewis, U.S. Attorney or the Central District of Illinois, to defer testimony from witnesses for 90 days, so as not to interfere with his ongoing criminal investigation.
Seven former members of Quinn’s administration had been subpoenaed to testify and present emails and documentation regarding the NRI program at a July 16-17 hearing. The delay will allow that testimony to take place in October instead.
“We have agreed to honor the US Attorney’s request, which specifically asked that we not hear testimony at this time from individuals involved in the NRI program, and we have voted in a bi-partisan, bi-cameral manner to honor that request,” said Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), who co-chairs the Audit Commission. “No one on this commission wants to interfere with the important work of the US Attorney’s office as they look for possible criminal activity in Quinn’s failed NRI program.”
The agreement to delay the testimony came after Sen. Barickman and Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) spoke to Lewis.
“He re-affirmed their commitment to limiting the request to 90 days,” said Barickman. “Representative Mautino and I have committed to each other that we will speak to Mr. Lewis again 10 days before our next meeting. And we both agree that we will honor his requests and the integrity of the investigation itself.”
In the meantime, the panel will continue to gather and disclose documents as specifically allowed by US Attorney Lewis. Those documents and emails will be made available on the Legislative Audit Commission website.
“This is an important step in making this review as transparent as possible to the citizens of this state,” said Barickman.
Seven former members of Quinn’s administration had been subpoenaed to appear on July 16. Those seven are Barbara Shaw, Warren Ribley, Andrew Ross, Malcolm Weems, Jack Lavin, Toni Irving, and Billy Ocasio, all identified in Auditor General Bill Holland’s scathing audit of the NRI program.
The Audit Commission will continue working with those seven to receive any and all subpoenaed documents.
In addition to the federal criminal investigation, a state grand jury is also looking into the NRI program, though there have been no requests made of the panel from that investigation.