The Phaserl


Open the Books Exposes the Sham That is the Illinois State Budget

from Liberty Blitzkrieg:

Open the Books, the world’s largest private database of government spending, recently released its latest expose examining the Illinois state budget using data garnered from its annual FOIA request.

Here’s some of what it found (read the entire article at Forbes):

It’s been two years since Illinois state government had a full-year budget. Now, more than 70,000 vendors are owed $8.2 billion. Yet, despite the legislative deadlock and seemingly fiscal insolvency, more than $50 billion in state payments flowed to providers and other entities in FY2016. 

So, who actually got paid and for how much while others waited in the long line of unpaid bills?

Recently, our organization at American Transparency (website: filed our annual Freedom of Information Act request with Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger (R) for the state’s checkbook payments. Here’s what we found: 56,738 recipients received fast-tracked payments of $50,125,427,171.

Even in a fiscal crisis, the state isn’t embracing basic spending reforms. 

For example, in 2016, Comptroller Leslie Munger continued to pay a lobbyist $50,000 out of her own budget. More than $370,000 in payments flowed to lobbyist Shea, Paige and Rogal since 2009 (a key executive is the chairman emeritus of the IL Republican Party) even though state agencies are barred by law from contracting with lobbyists. So, how is this legal?

Since 2005, $178.1 million in taxpayer funds flowed through J. Walter Thompson (JWT), one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. Last year, JWT got $1.049 million from the Illinois Tourism Board. Why is the state wasting any money on Public Relations?

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