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Quinn urged to testify on program

BY SOPHIA TAREEN Associated Press

CHICAGO - A vocal Republican lawmaker called Wednesday for Gov. Pat Quinn to testify before a legislative commission over a scandal-plagued anti-violence program the same day a published report showed the Quinn initiative gave money to a nonexistent program that claimed to help former inmates.

The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, already under federal and Cook County inquiries, was the subject of a scathing state audit earlier this year outlining "pervasive" problems with management and spending. More questions have arisen on the 2014 campaign trail as Quinn seeks re-election and recently in legislative hearings, where former state officials have been subpoenaed to testify.

"Stop ducking. Stop dodging," Republican state Sen. Matt Murphy, a frequent critic of Quinn, said of the governor. "Level with the people, it is their money. You misspent it. Level with them. And show them where the money went and answer their questions once and for all." It is unlikely Quinn would ever testify before the Legislative Audit Commission, a bipartisan group that reviews and approves state audits. Commission members said they had no plans to subpoena Quinn or invite him more informally, as the aim is to get information not offered in a state audit.

Seven former state officials, including Quinn's former chief of staff, have been subpoenaed to testify in July; two people, both former Quinn administration officials, were added Wednesday.

"There is no investigation of the governor," Quinn spokesman Grant Klinzman said. "He has made clear that those who are asked to participate by the commission should participate. Employees who were involved with now-defunct program no longer work for the state."

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