GOP Lawmakers Want Federal Probe of Quinn Hires
By Jim Meadows & The Associated Press
Republican members of Illinois' congressional delegation are calling for a federal investigation of political hiring in Governor Pat Quinn's transportation department.
Lawmakers including 13th District Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville and 15th District Congressman John Shimkus of Collinsville sent a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Transportation's inspector general. They say they're concerned federal funds were used in a ``scheme'' to subvert court-mandated hiring practices.
Quinn's office said that a rise in political hiring at IDOT was partly due to an increase in road building funded in part by federal stimulus money. Davis’ spokesman, Andrew Flach said they want to be sure none of the federal funds were used improperly --- especially at a time when the federal Highway Trust Fund is threatened with insolvency.
"We are in a post earmark world when it comes to projects and programs", said Flach. "And a lot of the money that is being sent from by the federal government goes directly to the states. And we have to ensure that states are being good stewards of the money that they’re receiving from the federal government."
Chicago attorney Michael Shakman filed a complaint in federal court last week alleging improper patronage hiring in the Illinois Department of Transportation. A Better Government Association report last year accused IDOT of skirting federal hiring guidelines throughout the Blagojevich and Quinn administrations.