State panel should ignore feds’ request to delay funding probe

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When federal prosecutors make a request, it’s not a good idea to ignore them. After all, they indict people for a living.

But in the case of the U.S. Department of Justice asking state legislators to temporarily stand down in their investigation of Gov. Pat Quinn’s troubled anti-violence program, I think this is one instance where the proper response is to respectfully decline.

Despite the feds’ protestations, the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission should proceed Wednesday with its planned questioning of former members of Quinn’s administration who were involved with running his $54.5 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

The program also is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation out of Springfield, which is why prosecutors have warned that their work could be compromised by legislators mucking about.

However, with an election for governor looming in November, I’d argue the public’s need to sort out the facts about what went wrong with the program outweighs the need for prosecutors to keep their potential witnesses from saying something that could make their work harder.

That’s really what that’s all about.

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