Chicago Group Misuses Government Funds To Try To Lobby For More Money For Itself

The Chicago-based community organizer group the National Training and Information Center received more than $200,000 to train employees of other community organizations, but instead used the money to send its own employees to Washington D.C. to lobby for more funds. The misappropriated cash was part of more than $3.1 million in total government funds the NTIC received between 2000 and 2002.

The U.S. Attorney’s office busted the organization, accusing it of violating a law that prevents public grants from being used to influence Congress, the Chicago Tribune reported. The group settled with the U.S. Attorney’s office to pay back $550,000 to the government — more than double the misused funds — and could have been forced to pay even more under the False Claims Act, which says defendants can face fines of up to three times actual damages.

This should serve as a warning to groups that try to misuse stimulus funds. Just as genies don’t let you use wishes to wish for more wishes, the government doesn’t lend you money to ask it for more money.

Chicago-based group misused goverment money [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo:cyborgsuzy)

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  1. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Another proud day for all of us in Chicago, C[r]ook County & Illinois!
    The most corrupt place in America!

  2. Toof_75_75 says:

    No surprise here…Good old, Chicago.

  3. bornonbord says:

    Man, if all of the corruption in Chicago were to get press, there wouldn’t be any room in the papers for anything else.

    At least we can poke fun at ourselves.

    [secondcity.com]

  4. cameronl says:

    My kind of town, Chicago is.

  5. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    How horrible and unfortunate to receive funds to help your community, only for someone to deem the funds useless. In a nutshell, they basically said “Screw you, what can we do with $200,000? HA.”

    I’m glad they were called on it. Hope the employees feel good about themselves, and had a nice time in D.C.- everyone needs a vacation before a public trial and lynchin’.

  6. ddelux49 says:

    This is not news. This is just another day in the life here in Cook County.

  7. sirillium says:

    “Community Organizer” is another way of saying “Communism Party Organizer”, and we have a whole team of expert Community Organizers running the Country.

    • Mr_Human says:

      @sirillium: I didn’t realize that this item had been linked from Drudge.

      • sirillium says:

        @Mr_Human: Just keep telling yourself that everything is okay. Stay afraid of the truth, and everything will feel like a nice warm snuggie.

        • Saboth says:

          @sirillium:

          Oh I know everything isn’t ok. We are in a deep recession and quagmire of a war that cost more than all of the “bailout” funds combined. So yeah…we are up the creek after Repubs got us there over the last 8 years of monopolizing 2 branches of government. After wallstreet had it’s hayday, yeah…the government had to step in and apply some powers and oversight to get things back in shape.

        • czetie says:

          @sirillium: Obvious troll is obvious.

    • nakedscience says:

      @sirillium: Wow. So because I consider myself a “Community Organizer”, I’m a communist? Ok.

      • sirillium says:

        @nakedscience: I do not know your “community organizing” methods or goals. As for your Organization, I would imagine they are not attempting to raise the individual, but rather limit the individual in order to raise the “community”. If so, you may be assisting a Communist Organization with Socialism.

    • veg-o-matic says:

      @sirillium: Oh, well, I’ll give you a 3/10, only for the handful of nibbles you’ve gotten.

      Otherwise, too transparent. Please try again.

    • ARP says:

      @sirillium: I know you’re trolling, but I’ll bite anyway…

      Tell me the communist components of the following activities:

      1) When a factory or other major industry pulls out, helping people apply for benefits, retraining, or other programs.

      2) Lobbying business to move or put a location within their community.

      3) Holding a rally to draw attention to crime in their neighborhood.

      4) Asking people to sign a petition asking state and local government to increase funding for their schools.

      5) Holding a bake sale to raise funds for a community center.

      Lay off the Hannity, dude.

      • DrGirlfriend says:

        @ARP: It’s just that any word that has “commun” in it immediately equals “communism”. I mean, so many letters in common, it can’t be a coincidence, right?

        Same as words with “social” = socialism. Example: “People who are anti-social are against socialism.”

        • SacraBos says:

          @DrGirlfriend: Personally, I think there is nothing wrong with the concept of communism. In practice though, at some point it fails because someone wants something someone else has.

          For a humorous look at this, see “The God’s Must Be Crazy”. Coke bottles are evil and must be thrown off the edge of the Earth.

      • SacraBos says:

        @ARP: It’s when it becomes
        1) When a factory or other major industry pulls out, inciting near-riots which further damages the company
        2) Threatening business with lawsuits/etc to impact their relationship with the community.
        3) Holding a rally to protest some fictitious “wrong” in their neighborhood
        4) Asking people to sign a petition to alter policies in order to benefit only a select constituency at the expense of others
        5) Holding a bake sale, ‘nuf said.

        Unfortunately, there are many “community organizers” who are only looking out for themselves, and not the community. And rather than bringing people together, are actually isolating and radicalizing themselves from the greater community.

  8. I Love New Jersey says:

    That is The Chicago Way!
    The Chicago Way is also playing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC, hopefully only until January 20, 2013, although there is no underestimating the stupidity of the American people.

  9. takes_so_little says:

    Since there seems to be little to no legal oversight, the press is the best weapon we have against scum like this.

  10. HiPwr says:

    You can’t blame this on Chicago. Chicago’s mayor and every member of its City Council are Democrats and therefore saintly and pure. I suspect Karl Rove had something to do with this organization’s misdeed.

  11. golddog says:

    Wait…you can’t use a wish to wish for more wishes? Damn that was an integral part of my Find A Genie recession plan.

  12. JGKojak says:

    Yes, corruption is a horrible thing. Kind of like torturing people to get them to lie about the connection between Iraq and 9/11 to justify going to war?

    • HiPwr says:

      @JGKojak: I’m sure you have a specific case that you are referring to?

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @HiPwr: You really need to improve your media diet.

        • HiPwr says:

          @Trai_Dep: Just as JGKojak doesn’t seem to be able to cite a case, you didn’t provide one either.

          • slopirate says:

            @HiPwr: Maybe if you cut off the head of an American journalist with dull blade, Trai_Dep would defend you too. Terrorists are like kittens. Thank God there are people on Consumerist willing to defend them, poor things.

          • Trai_Dep says:

            @HiPwr: Jeezus. It’s really sad that you’re so completely lost in a fog of your own making.
            [www.mcclatchydc.com]

            “The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.”

            I mean, think about it, as a patriot. As an American. We sussed the info the guy had, already. Drained him dry. Thru traditional, non-torturing methods.
            But he didn’t tell us there was an al-Queda/Saddam link (because there wasn’t). So your shining examples of America tortured the guy until he lied and said what the interrogators wanted.

            So very sad. It’s common knowledge, yet you barricade yourself so furiously from truth. Because it might sting a bit as it shakes you free from your terminal, squalid malperceptions.
            What a stunted way to live a life.

            • HiPwr says:

              @Trai_Dep: I have an open mind. I do entertain the possibility that your screed isn’t just the kooky rants of an ideologue blinded by hatred. I checked out the source of your quote there. Not exactly a bi-partisan group, wouldn’t you say? You can’t see their agenda because it is yours too.

              At any rate, even that far-left article doesn’t assert that this so-called “torture” produced “lies” from the shitbag terrorists.

              It’s easy to just make up “facts” and then run away. I ran into this constantly from the right-wing nuts during the Clinton Administration. They ascribed to him all kinds of ridiculous conspiracies, but when I challenged them, they used each other as their sources. Just like you.

              I guess I’ll never understand the mind of the zealot.

              • Trai_Dep says:

                @HiPwr: Let me get this straight. You consider the McClatchy chain of newspapers, based in Real America‚Ñ¢, a far-left, partisan group of zealots?!
                Whoa, momma. Well, enjoy your cave.

                • Trai_Dep says:

                  @Trai_Dep: And: ad hominem. Try again?

                  • HiPwr says:

                    @Trai_Dep: Try to take off the partisan blinders and take an impartial look around at what they have on their site. See a pattern?

                    • Trai_Dep says:

                      @HiPwr: Fine. Cite reputable sources that negate what a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist have testified is the case (and what JGKojack said): YOUR leaders tortured a guy well past the point of insanity in order to get him to lie, so that YOUR White House could hoodwink the US into starting an unnecessary war against people who had nothing to do with 9/11.
                      I’d imagine our Founding Fathers reading your side of things, then silently weeping.

                    • HiPwr says:

                      @Trai_Dep: The FBI and CIA disbute your “facts” in your own cited article.

                      You still haven’t given me any proof that someone was “tortured to insanity” and “lied” about anything. I think there is strong evidence that the administration was desperatly trying to find a link between 9/11 and Iraq (and may have even taken unscrupulous or even illegal measures to that end), but you are reading into this things that simply aren’t there. You can’t get past your idealogy and see things objectively.

                      As far as the Founding Fathers goes, I find it highly unlikely that you have any genuine grasp on the concepts and ideals that they shared.

  13. starrion says:

    My condolences from Boston.

    How can you tell when the Feds are being lazy:
    They only take out ONE politican when they hit the State House.

    Corruption? In MY government? It’s more likely than you think.

  14. korybing says:

    Keep it classy, Chicago.

  15. JeffMc says:

    Why aren’t things like this criminal?

    “You used the money we gave you to do something illegal? Well now you have to give some – but not all – of it back!”

    What kind of deterrent is that?

    • SacraBos says:

      @JeffMc: FTA, it looks like they have to give back twice the amount of money they used illegally. Which I’m okay with. But yeah, I’d good with taking it all back, too.

  16. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    Oh, Illinois, I’m so glad I’m now part of your “enrich elected officials through fraud” program for spending taxpayer money …

    I mean, um, VERY VERY BAD, NTIC. BAD use of taxpayer money!

  17. Porcelina says:

    @nakedscience: Don’t feed the trolls.

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    Smack ‘em down, smack ‘em down hard.
    That said, don’t paint everything with the same brush and (without even looking at the comment, I’m sure I’ll need to add), why aren’t bank officials lobbying with our bailout funds also being prosecuted? Double-standard, much?

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Trai_Dep: Because the magic word is “Patrick Fitzgerald,” who is unafraid to slaughter sacred cows.

      He’s given us a new holiday in Illinois, Fitzmas, where he indicts our most corrupt elected officials with calendar-like regularity. Merry Fitzmas!

  19. theodicey says:

    @DrGirlfriend: Me Wingnut. Me Breathe thru Mouth. Me no Read so Good.

  20. CumaeanSibyl says:

    So if they hadn’t spent the money on lobbyists, would they have needed to lobby for more money?

  21. Wombatish says:

    Because the fact that this has “Chicago” and “Community Organizer” in the title/article means that it has to do with Obama, see?

    He was the only one, alright! The only one!

    I dislike trolls -and- nutjobs.

    • Wombatish says:

      @Wombatish: That being said, being a charitable organization (in the attitude sense, and not necessarily the tax/financial sense) and being dishonest is terrible, and I hope these people are punished, thoroughly (those involved in the decision in any way… don’t punish some volunteer who had no idea what was going on and was just trying to help their community).