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The [Thursday] Papers

"With a probe of Gov. Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence grant program on the table Wednesday, a panel of state lawmakers spent eight hours bickering at a hearing that proved long on election-year antics and short on revelations," the Tribune reports.

"They talked over each other. They lobbed accusations. And they even differed on when to break for lunch and who should run the meeting.

"When it was all over, they'd agreed on one just one thing: putting online for public perusal thousands of documents related to the Democratic governor's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Left unresolved, however, was whether and when seven key witnesses would testify about what they did while working on a $54.5 million program launched four years ago to funnel money to predominantly Democratic areas of Chicago and the south suburbs as Quinn was locked in a tough election battle."

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The U.S. attorney's office has asked the panel to delay proceeding calling witnesses while it proceeds with its own investigation. Republicans, eager to score political points, have been reluctant to do so. Democrats, eager to protect a governor running for re-election, have been eager to do so. And that's what I don't get.

From a political perspective, if I'm a Republican, I want that investigation to proceed apace. Prosecutors have asked for 90 days, which puts us right on the doorstep of Election Day. I don't get why Republicans aren't screaming "Stand back! Let those good men and women do their job!"

Sure, 90 days could pass without any indictments in the end - or in time for the election - but these kinds of investigations always spring leaks. Plus, there could be gold at the end of the investigative rainbow.

And from a political perspective, if I'm a Democrat, I want to hamper that investigation as much as possible. I don't get why Democrats aren't screaming "We must get to the truth! We must call witnesses now - for the people!"

Sure, there would be embarrassments. And the drip-drip of NRI hackery wouldn't look good. But it would be Democrats getting to the bottom of it - while derailing the feds!

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That's all from a political perspective. From a human perspective, when the U.S. attorney's office asks you to hold off so as to not impair their investigation, you hold off. You don't try to run a parallel investigation - especially when you are ill-equipped to do so. It's that simple.

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That said, this is a laugh:

"Attorneys for former top staff members of Gov. Pat Quinn's administration said Wednesday their clients have no intention to testify before a lawmaker panel investigating the governor's scandal-ridden Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program so long as federal prosecutors object," the Sun-Times reports.

"Jon King, the attorney for ex-Quinn deputy chief of staff Toni Irving, told the Legislative Audit Commission Wednesday that Irving did not intend to testify now, despite being subpoenaed by lawmakers. He said a federal prosecutor had asked lawmakers not to call witnesses before their panel during the next 90 days to avoid possibly impeding an ongoing criminal investigation.

"'Her belief is it would be inappropriate to do so in light of the Department of Justice investigation,' said King, who also told the panel his client does not intend to plead the 5th Amendment."

Federal prosecutors asked lawmakers not to call witnesses. They didn't ask witnesses not to appear. If you are subpoenaed, you go. As far as I'm concerned, that's contempt. Irving's "belief" is irrelevant. That's a very dangerous precedent.

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Irving, of course, is now in charge of Rahm Emanuel's anti-violence program, which is essentially a privatized version of NRI, which means the politics and boondoggles can be kept secret, unlike with Quinn's program.

The Answer Is Yes
Did Hot Mic Pick Up Topinka Clout Request?

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How do we know? Because we aren't idiots.

Here's the video, via the Sun-Times:

"When the Sun-Times' . . . pressed both Quinn and Topinka for more details on the exchange, Quinn said he did not hear what happened while Topinka's office described the comptroller as eager to get her son back home - without denying she was asking the governor to get her son a job."

Uh-huh.

"The governor didn't hear all of what she said," Quinn spokeswoman Katie Hickey told the Sun-Times. "He said that she mentioned her son and SIU, but it was loud, and he couldn't make out what she was talking about."

The video shows that to be a lie. It wasn't loud. And Quinn seemed to make out what she said just fine.

"The comptroller recalls mentioning that her son just completed 20 years of service in the military, that he has multiple degrees, including his J.D., and is interested in returning to Illinois, preferably southern Illinois," Topinka spokesman Brad Hahn told the paper.

But she didn't mention any of that.

"It was no different than a million other conversations she's had about her son in the last few months. Like any mom and grandma, she would like to have her family closer to home."

So she chose the few seconds she had at a bill-signing to tell the governor that her son would like a job at SIU and - unlike other clout requests - even has the qualifications, and that's just like a million other conversations she's had about her son in the last few months. At a bill-signing. With the governor. Chanting "SIU! SIU! SIU!" just to drill the message home.

*

"[Quinn] asked staff to reach out to her office to find out exactly what she was talking about, but we never heard back," Hickey told the Sun-Times

So it worked. Quinn reached out. He probably never heard back because Topinka is a little more savvy; you don't use the phone, you idiot! Someone could be listening!

*

"I called Hahn myself," Rich Miller writes at his Capitol Fax Blog. "I asked him over and over whether Topinka had asked the governor to help her son get a job at SIU. He gave the same response about how Topinka 'recalls mentioning' blah, bah, blah.

"Finally, I asked him if Topinka also recalled asking the governor about helping her son get a job. 'Not specifically,' I was told."

Right. Like, she didn't name a specific job. Any job will do! But she clearly asked for help getting her son to SIU.

*

"Topinka's Brad Hahn just called back," Miller added. "Here are three direct quotes...

She talked about wanting to get her son back to Illinois.

She was not asking for a job.

She did not ask him for a job.

"I've known Brad forever. He's always been straight with me, so it's weird that he was so evasive before. All he had to do was tell the Sun-Times and myself what he said in our second conversation and it's end of story."

Huh? First, it's not end of story just because of what a flak says. Second, he didn't say anything different the second time! Topinka did not "ask" for a job. Not specifically. She made it be known, though, quite clearly, that she, um, would like Quinn's help getting her son a job at SIU. Duh. Again, we're not idiots.

*

Is there anything wrong with that? There is if her kid gets the job that your kid was up for. You want your son close to home too.

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Smith V. Obama
When an Idaho emergency neonatal nurse and pregnant mother of two found out the federal government was collecting her phone records, she sued the president.

Fantasy Fix: Just Like We Planned It
First-half performers.

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BeachBook
* Crime And Punishment Release Party!

Criminal justice data wants to be free.

* The Quest To Find 12 Hidden Treasures From A 1982 Treasure Hunt Book.

In 1984, three kids unearthed a key in Chicago . . .

* Brazilian Government Posts Listings For 12 Soccer Stadiums On Craigslist.

* House Democrats Seek Watchdog Probe Of Motorola's Radio Contracts.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Forgiving.



Permalink

Posted on July 17, 2014


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Vizio Settles Spying Complaints.
POLITICS - WikiLeaks Reveals Staggering Breadth Of CIA Hacking.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Northwestern Still Sucks.

BOOKS - Bannon, The Best And The Brightest.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: A Jukebox Is Not A Democracy.


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