SPRINGFIELD, IL (ECWd) -
After reading Rich Millers article on Capital Fax 2 days ago I realized the importance of keeping it simple. In the article he points out that no "smoking gun" has been uncovered showing "any illegal political actions by top-level Quinn administration officials on the governor’s anti-violence initiative. They have a couple thousand government e-mails, but nothing that shows anything spectacular." (Click here for link to his article)
What shocked me with that first paragraph was his claim, "nothing that shows anything spectacular"!
Now I don't know about the rest of the people in this state, but I think it's a safe bet to say we are all tired of both the Republicans and the Democrats focusing their efforts on fighting each other and spending our money trying to prove political corruption against one another, all while clearly there are fact based violations of the law which most would consider "spectacular". Sadly, as seen in Mr. Millers' article, the media is focusing on finding a political smoking gun and because of that they fail to see anything spectacular even though its right in front of their nose!
Lets take a quick civic lesson that knows no political class and see what is or is not spectacular.
(720 ILCS 5/33-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 33-3)
Sec. 33-3. Official Misconduct.) A public officer or employee or special government agent commits misconduct when, in his official capacity or capacity as a special government agent, he commits any of the following acts:
(a) Intentionally or recklessly fails to perform any mandatory duty as required by law; or
(b) Knowingly performs an act which he knows he is forbidden by law to perform; or
(c) With intent to obtain a personal advantage for himself or another, he performs an act in excess of his lawful authority; or
(d) Solicits or knowingly accepts for the performance of any act a fee or reward which he knows is not authorized by law.
A public officer or employee or special government agent convicted of violating any provision of this Section forfeits his office or employment or position as a special government agent. In addition, he commits a Class 3 felony.
For purposes of this Section, "special government agent" has the meaning ascribed to it in subsection (l) of Section 4A-101 of the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act.
(Source: P.A. 94-338, eff. 1-1-06.)
The Official Misconduct statute applies to all public officers and employees, so clearly it knows no political class. The challenge is getting prosecutors and the people to understand the importance of enforcing those laws on all public officials and employees.
I am going to point out a few "spectacular" items that even the most basic person could understand and I think all will agree that not only are they spectacular, the Official Misconduct statute could be applied and people could be held accountable.
"recklessly fails to perform any mandatory duty as required by law"
You be the judge!
Governor Quinn's Illinois Violence Prevention Authority (IVPA), which was Co-Chaired by Attorney General Lisa Madigan was set up with nothing more than a slide show without any studies to support the design!
From the Auditor Generals report: "Were any studies to support the design conducted? If so, when and by who?
Shaw said no."
A $54 Million dollar project and not a single study was done to support the design conducted? Is that not spectacular?
Any first year law student could make the case that it was reckless!
The two Co-Chairs to the IVPA attended a whopping 1 meeting of the board of directors over a three year period! When the very people in charge of a $54 Million Dollar project fail to attend board meetings consistently year after year is that not spectacular? Is it so hard to see this as reckless? (Click here for previous article on this spectacular fact)
A $54 Million dollar project that had no studies to support the design conducted, Co-Chairs missing from Director's meetings for three years and is it any wonder reports show the program was teaching families that cops kill kids at night? Is that not spectacular? Is that not reckless? (Click here for previous article on Cops Killing Kids)
If you think these items are not "spectacular" then let's look at how the $54 million of our tax money was handed out. What state public official made the determination as to who was going to get the money from this program? If I told you there was no state official making that decision would that be spectacular? Well guess what, no state official made that call! The decision to divvy out the money was made by Chicago City Aldermen! Is that not spectacular?
From the Auditors report: While IVPA issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a “Governor’s Neighborhood Recovery Plan” on September 8, 2010, to select agencies to administer the program, the RFP was only sent to those agencies recommended by aldermen five days earlier. Furthermore, auditors’ review of IVPA’s scoring of the RFP submissions identified numerous deficiencies, including evaluation forms with inconsistent criteria, unscored criteria, changed scoring, and undated evaluations." (Click here for full report - page 8 of 172 for the above information)
Still not convinced that this small sampling doesn't rise to the level of Official Misconduct?
Page 33 of the Auditory Generals Report: "Even though providing partners did not receive all the funds for Reentry and SBC in Year 1, they also did not perform any additional work in Year 2 for those funds that were rolled into the Year 2 budgets. What did result was the lead agencies being overpaid and IVPA not collecting the overpayment as required by the Grant Funds Recovery Act." (Click here for full report)
Now if that little sample of wrong doing is not spectacular I don't know what is. Spectacular or not, it clearly does rise to the level of Official Misconduct!
- Receiving funds when they did not perform any additional work?
- Failing to collect over-payments as required by the Grant Funds Recovery Act?
If that is not recklessly failing to perform a mandatory duty as required by law then we are done as a society based on laws.
One only need to read the RGF statute and surprise, the recovery of grant funds lies in the hands of the Attorney General? (Click here for RGF statute) You know, the same person who Co-Chaired this whole program and never attended a single board meeting!
(30 ILCS 705/9) (from Ch. 127, par. 2309)
Sec. 9. Recovery of Grant Funds by Attorney General. Except as otherwise provided by Section 14, the Attorney General, on his own volition, may act to recover any grant funds which have been misapplied or are being improperly held and, when doing so, has all the powers of collection established in this Act in addition to any other powers authorized by law or the constitution. (Source: P.A 87-1262) (Click here for Grant Funds Recovery Act)
I know, not focusing on the political theater in this big candelas may be boring to some but when you get down to it, the use of Grant money for political purpose is not even a Class C misdemeanor in this state! And no, that is not a typo!
(30 ILCS 705/4.3e) "A grantee who knowingly violates this Section is guilty of a business offense and is subject to a fine of up to $5,000."A business offense is below a class C misdemeanor!
"These offenses are called quasi-criminal offenses because the procedure involved in court is similar to the procedure on a criminal charge. The person who stands accused is called the defendant and the prosecution must prove him guilty. But the burden of proof is preponderance of the evidence. For instance, the prosecution must show it is more likely true than not that the defendant is guilty. Also, the penalty is civil in nature. That is, the judge can only impose a fine." (Link to Criminal Lawyer page).
As not to minimize the potential criminal side of this ongoing investigation, we must not forget the Federal laws that apply because Federal tax dollars were used! Considering the Attorney General was in charge of the IVPA I think we can safely say she is not going to pursue prosecutions on illegal acts by people working under her direction, however she may well be one of those key players the Federal Authorities are targeting as it clear she was reckless in the performance of her duties! That recklessness may well fall into the Official Misconduct column which is a criminal offense!
Regardless, I think all will agree the little bit of information exposed in this article is in fact "spectacular"!