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Quinn says lawmakers should follow conscience on subpoena vote

Gov. PQuinn answered questions about his embattled anti-violence program after press conference Inaugural Illinois Corporate-Startup Challenge Merchandise Mart Monday. |

Gov. Pat Quinn answered questions about his embattled anti-violence program after a press conference on the Inaugural Illinois Corporate-Startup Challenge in the Merchandise Mart Monday. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 23, 2014 2:49PM

Gov. Pat Quinn said lawmakers should “follow their conscience” when it comes to issuing a subpoena for testimony from the former head of his embattled anti-violence program before a legislative panel that’s reviewing it.

Bruce Rauner, Quinn’s Republican opponent in the fall election, called last week on the governor to support a subpoena for Barbara Shaw, who once led Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Rauner’s campaign needled Quinn again Monday over whether he would answer questions on the topic after a planned appearance at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.

Quinn visited the tech hub 1871 to announce the results of the inaugural Illinois Corporate Start-up Challenge. He did so the same day a subcommittee of the Legislative Audit Commission planned to vote on whether to subpoena testimony from Shaw.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, backs the subpoena, according to an aide, and Shaw’s attorney has said she will likely testify if one is issued.

“Gov. Pat Quinn is preparing to hold yet another media event this morning where he will refuse to take any questions,” Rauner’s campaign said in a written statement Monday morning.

Quinn did answer questions about the corporate start-up challenge during the event. Afterward, though, his staff tried to block reporters from following the governor as they asked him about Shaw.

The governor told reporters combating gun violence remains “a serious cause to me.” Later, after reporters chased the governor to an elevator, Quinn said lawmakers “should do what they think is right” when it comes to whether a subpoena should be issued.

The anti-violence program that Quinn launched one month before his 2010 gubernatorial election is under investigation by Cook County and federal law enforcement agencies. Republicans have characterized it as a taxpayer-funded get-out-the-vote operation, a notion the governor rejects.

Contributing: Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney

Twitter: @SeidelContent

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