In 2010, just weeks before re-election, former Gov. Pat Quinn unveiled a $55 million program supposedly aimed at curbing violence in Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods. But due to widespread mismanagement, a lack of oversight, and a rush to spend the money ahead of Election Day, the program served as little more than a political slush fund, catching the eye of multiple criminal investigations and a scathing state audit.
The NRI scandal was a low moment for Illinois, and another black eye on the state’s still-damaged reputation. But according to Sen. Bill Brady(R-Bloomington), this bill can go a long way in improving public trust and ensuring that such a scandal can never happen again – an important step on the road to fiscal recovery.
"After years of corruption and political patronage, Illinois government must reestablish trust with the people of this great state. Senate Bill 1058 is a way to curb patronage hires and ensure a merit-based hiring process in Illinois government" said Brady.
The reform measure, Senate Bill 1058, does the following:
-Bans the promotion of new state programs and grants in the two months ahead of an election – Gov. Quinn made 61 such announcements in the final two months of the 2014 election.
-Closes the accounting loophole that allowed Gov. Quinn to bypass the budget process and take $55 million for NRI, a practice slammed in the 2014 audit.
-Updates the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act with more stringent oversight and new disclosures to root out conflicts of interest