Gov. Quinn Names Key Staff

A new top aide to Gov. Pat Quinn is a holdover from Rod Blagojevich

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn speaks to reporters outside the Governor's office at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Friday, Jan. 30, 2009. Quinn was sworn as governor after the Illinois Senate vote 59-0 to remove the impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

A new top aide to Gov. Pat Quinn is a holdover from Rod Blagojevich's administration who has ties to convicted fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko.

Quinn on Wednesday appointed Jack Lavin as his new chief operating officer.

Lavin is a former Rezko employee who since 2003 has been head of the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

In his new job, Lavin will direct the federal stimulus program for Illinois and help manage the governor's office.

Lavin has known Quinn for years, working for Quinn when he was state treasurer.

Quinn spokesman Bob Reed brushed off questions about Lavin's connections to Rezko, saying Quinn has the "utmost confidence" in his pick.

Rezko was convicted last summer of shaking down companies seeking state business for Blagojevich campaign contributions

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