Quinn says she had no idea from where the money came. Who can be bothered with such details when it's so nice giving to voter-pleasing causes? And when it's even nicer to be able to buy allies on the Council by saying "yes" and to punish enemies by saying "no."
Every year, the Council gloms tens of millions of dollars for distribution to causes and organizations favored by members. A couple of thousand items long, the list represents naked vote-buying, courtesy of taxpayer dough. With virtually no check on whether any of the money is well spent.
Setting aside phantom cash, totaling $4.7 million under Quinn, was a way for the Council to keep the money flowing as the budget year progressed. Or so we have all just learned because - wouldn't you know it? - federal prosecutors and the Department of Investigation began asking questions about - yes, that's right - possible corruption.
Quinn says that, answering the queries, she discovered the phantoms and that they had existed since long before she became speaker. She reported them to authorities. She also hired a high-priced law firm and fired the allegedly guilty parties.
(One of whom immediately went to work for a lobbyist who is Quinn's close friend. Small world.)
Christine Quinn's phantom menace