WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lawmakers With Subpoena Powers — Necessary, Or Just for Show?

May 7, 2014
Originally published on May 7, 2014 7:57 am

  A group of lawmakers granted themselves subpoena power Tuesday, to further an investigation into an anti-violence program favored by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. Brian Mackey looks at whether it's necessary — or just for show.

The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative was rushed out in fall 2010, as Quinn was up for election.

After an audit found significant problems, state and federal prosecutors are said to be looking into it. Now Republicans want to get in on the act. At their urging, a bipartisan legislative panel voted 10-1 to give itself subpoena power in order to further an investigation.

The lone dissent came from Democratic Rep. Frank Mautino of Spring Valley. He says the relevant agencies in this case have already turned over all the information they have.

"We have 20 bankers boxes of documents that neither the Democrat or Republican staff have bothered to go over and look at," Mautino says.

Republicans counter that, since some officials might no longer be with state government, the subpoenas could compel them to testify.

It's not clear if any subpoenas will actually be issued. There's a dispute over whether the Democrats who run the House and Senate have to sign off on them; and if they do, it remains to be seen if they will.

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