SPRINGFIELD - Both House Speaker Mike Madigan's office and his daughter Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office appear to have meddled in the investigation and/or oversight of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority's (IVPA) Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI).
At Wednesday's legislative committee hearing, testimony suggests that Speaker Michael Madigan's staff may have actively interfered with the Legislative Audit Commission's investigation of the NRI.
Rep. Scott Drury admitted under questioning that he was asked to testify at the request of Speaker Madigan's staff. Then a lawyer for former Quinn Deputy Chief of Staff Toni Irving told commissioners that Speaker Michael Madigan's counsel consulted with him in the lead-up to his appearance and refused to turn over more than 100,000 emails.
Earlier Wednesday, the transparency group "Open the Books" released files State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) office found that ties Speaker Madigan's daughter Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the IVPA's operations.
In particular, an email from the IVPA's chief Barbara Shaw three days after Pat Quinn won over Republican Bill Brady in 2010 is stirring questions.
The November 5, 2010 email, found by an investigative group contracted by Rep. Kay, shows Shaw asked Attorney General Lisa Madigan's chief of staff Ann Spillane whether a decision had been made about raises/bonuses for the IVPA's managers:
"Hi, Ann. I'm just checking in to see if there has been a decision on the raises/bonus question for my managers," Shaw wrote.
"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 his big initiative will continue beyond one year." [Ed. emphasis]
Ms. Shaw's email raises several questions about Attorney General Lisa Madigan's involvement in the IVPA program. Ms. Spillane did not respond to Illinois Review's query about the email.
General Madigan was Co-Chair of Illinois Violence Prevention Authority (IVPA)- responsible for the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Review Management Letter on page 4
Madigan also was allowed five appointments of the IVPA's ten member board.
As Co-Chair, Madigan had statutory oversight while the Governor's office recommended the hiring of undocumented workers with the grant money. That raises another question, "Open the Books" says, as to whether those directions violate state employment law.
Ms. Shaw asked the governor's office 10 days after the 2010 election about hiring practices regarding the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative:
"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?"
The answer through the governor's office back to Shaw was "If there aren't specific elgibility requirements (Medicaid, SNAP) - we generally don't ask participants of grant programs for information related to their residency status. We don't ask."
The U.S. Attorney's office and the Cook County State's Attorney's offices are also currently looking into the NRI program, as well as the Legislative Audit Commission's fact-finding.
When all the emails are "found," Open the Books said Wednesday, what will they reveal about Attorney General and IVPA Co-Chair Lisa Madigan, AG Chief of Staff Ann Spillane, IVPA Director Barbara Shaw and the anti-violence grant program?
"Attorney General Lisa Madigan is the top cop in Illinois. Madigan co-chaired one of the most corrupt programs in state history," Adam Andrzejewski said. "Barbara Shaw, IVPA Director, is asking Madigan's Chief of Staff within three days of the election--- "... if there has been a decision on the raises/bonus question for my managers."
Andrzejewski concluded, "It's time to start asking General Madigan and Chief of Staff Ann Spillane some hard questions."