Quinn's win, taxpayers' loss

February 26, 2014 

In an interview in 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn defended himself against criticism by his impeached predecessor Rod Blagojevich: "Anybody who has followed my public life knows I don't do deals."

But Quinn wheeled and dealed during his 2010 gubernatorial race when he threw $55 million of taxpayer money into a hastily conceived anti-crime program for Chicago. It didn't stem the city's violence, but it probably helped Quinn win a tight election.

The state auditor general just released a scathing report that lays out all the ugly details: some of the highest crime areas weren't even included, financial accountability was almost zero and Chicago aldermen rather than objective criteria were used to decide who got considered for state contracts. There was no attempt to gauge whether the program was working. Financial records are such a disaster, auditors questioned 40 percent of the expenditures.

The Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, which ran this program, has been dissolved and rolled into the Criminal Justice Information Authority. Quinn thinks that should close the book on this fiasco. But taxpayers shouldn't let him brush it aside so easily. Neither should the voters when they choose a governor later this year.

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