Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Monday defended her right to give legal advice to state lawmakers conducting a probe into a troubled
Chicago anti-violence program that was overseen by Gov. Pat Quinn's administration.
Madigan's role has been questioned by Paul Schimpf, a Republican attorney running against the three-term Democrat in the November election. His campaign
has argued that she faces a conflict of interest because a member of her staff served as co-chair of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority Board, which
oversaw the agency that distributed $54.5 million for the 2010 program.
Schimpf says Madigan should recuse herself from giving legal advice to members of the Legislative Audit Commission, which is investigating irregularities in
But Madigan denied she has a conflict. She said it was her duty to help in state legal matters.
``There is no problem there,'' she said after an unrelated news conference.
``As the Attorney General, I am the lawyer for the state. Every single day we're
giving legal advice to local, county, state, even federal government and elected
officials - Republicans and Democrats. ... That is the job.''
Madigan's office was asked for advice by the legislative panel's co-chair,
Republican state Sen. Jason Barickman, about whether the governor's office can
legally withhold emails regarding the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. The
program also is being scrutinized by federal prosecutors and the Cook County
state's attorney's office.
Schimpf was not immediately available to respond to Madigan's comments.