Feds issue new subpoena focusing on former state Rep. Connie Howard
BY DAVE MCKINNEY Springfield Bureau Chief firstname.lastname@example.org July 26, 2012 5:50PM
Illinois Rep. Constance Howard, D-Chicago, argues ethics legislation on the House of Representatives floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Friday, May 30, 2003. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Updated: August 28, 2012 6:22AM
SPRINGFIELD — A probe into grants linked to former state Rep. Constance Howard appears to be deepening after federal investigators issued a new subpoena this month, less than two weeks after she relinquished her House seat.
The July 18, 2012, subpoena, which came to light in a Thursday response by the House clerk to an open-records request by the Chicago Sun-Times, sought “all notes, minutes of meetings, transcripts of meetings or reports” issued between 2000 and 2007 by the Computer Technology Committee, a now-disbanded House panel Howard once chaired.
The subpoena issued by the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield also asked House officials to provide “any reports to/from the Constance A. ‘Connie’ Howard Technology Scholarship Fund or records of any grants or disbursements awarded to that fund.”
Howard, who cited “personal reasons” in tendering her resignation on July 6, could not be reached. A man answering her cell phone said she was unavailable and hung up on a reporter Thursday afternoon.
Another subpoena that had not been made public until Thursday came from the same federal prosecutor’s office and sought a litany of information about Howard, including “receipts, House district allotment reports, contracts, agreements, employee time sheets, voucher payments, budgets, written or electronic communications and rules and policies” between 2007 and 2009.
The Chicago Sun-Times first disclosed in 2009 that an AIDS-awareness group that Howard founded, the Let’s Talk, Let’s Test Foundation, was the subject of a federal criminal probe.
The newspaper reported later in 2010 that five federal subpoenas were received by Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration seeking details about the group, which state officials have since alleged improperly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on staff bonuses, football tickets and other items.
In May of 2010, Howard acknowledged to the Sun-Times that she had received a federal subpoena but said then, “My attorney has advised me not to deal with interviews on this until the investigation has been completed.”
She declined to identify her lawyer and previously has said that Let’s Talk, Let’s Test has done nothing wrong.