Despite troubled program, Quinn has supported underdogs

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Gov. Pat Quinn’s compassion is his saving grace.

For months, Quinn has been getting pummeled by the press because of the problems uncovered in his Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

The initiative was supposed to help struggling communities provide safety nets for its youth, but is now being characterized as a “political slush fund,” and a “get-out-the-vote” effort.

Only a few clergy, one of them the Rev. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina, have rallied to the governor’s side. Pfleger has argued that the funds his not-for-profit group received was used properly and blasted Quinn’s foes for using the controversy to push their political agendas.

But an audit of the grant program uncovered enough questionable spending to make it the target of state and federal investigations.

Still, no one is likely surprised that politicians allegedly put their hands in this cookie jar.

In fact, I suggest every federal or state-funded grant get this same level of scrutiny. If so, I guarantee you it won’t be long before we’d see more visible signs that government grants are being put to good use.

With a re-election bid on the horizon, the negative publicity is making Quinn something of a pariah. Some prominent black business people and clergy in the black community are openly supporting Bruce Rauner, while some of Quinn’s political allies are running for cover.

The regular folk who have supported Quinn in the past are beginning to worry about his re-election chances, but they shouldn’t count him out.

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