SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn's administration has turned over an estimated 2,000 emails to a panel of lawmakers investigating a troubled anti-violence program.
Quinn spokesman Dave Blanchette confirmed Tuesday that the trove of emails linked to the $54.5 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative was forwarded Friday to members of the General Assembly's Legislative Audit Commission.
One member of the panel, state Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, said the emails were requested by the panel on July 3. He said they paint a picture of a badly managed program that was quickly put together.
"It goes to show the breadth and scope of what was going on," Reis said.
But both he and state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said Tuesday they don't think Quinn has given them everything the committee is seeking.
"What's interesting is the question of whether the governor's office has complied with the request," Barickman said. "My review is that they have not."
The contents of some of those emails could be discussed publicly as early as Wednesday when the commission is scheduled to open the first of two days of hearings into the scandal-plagued program.
Panel members have been asked by the U.S. Department of Justice to stop the inquiry for 90 days in order not to interfere with a federal probe of the program. That message was amplified Tuesday when U.S. Attorney James Lewis of Illinois' Central District sent another letter to the panel asking members to stand down "to avoid interference with our investigation."
A vote on whether to delay the investigation is expected to be discussed by the committee. Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, said Friday that members should move forward with the investigation.
The commission is reviewing information related to the 2010 initiative following the release of a scathing audit of the program in March. Auditor General Bill Holland found the program was "hastily implemented" by Quinn’s office just before the 2010 election.
The initiative was advertised as a way to combat violence in Chicago, but the audit found the program failed to target the most violent neighborhoods and Chicago aldermen were able to influence where the grant money went.
Reis said the emails back up the findings of the audit.
"It plays in the auditor general's report that this was a terribly rushed program," Reis said.