We sued. Taxpayers Won. Forcing open 17 years of State of Illinis checkbook spending
October 27, 2013 07:00 AM
FORCING OPEN THE ILLINOIS
All public payments since 1996 soon online
"We sued because the Comptroller refused to show citizens the state checkbook
and the Attorney General refused to do anything about it."
State Capitol Press Conference
January 8, 2013
For The Good of Illinois, Inc
State of Illinois, Office of Comptroller
WE WON ONE FOR THE TAXPAYERS!
Click Here and Review the 2013 State Checkbook Online
This is a watershed moment in our fight for transparent government. In a Cook County court room, during ten months of legal wrangling, we’ve shown:
1. Citizens own the State of Illinois checkbook spending information;
2. The Comptroller has a constitutional duty to provide this data on request;
3. The Comptroller has a duty under Freedom of Information Act to fulfill requests;
4. Citizens can request the state checkbook from the Comptroller, from 1996 forward.
For the first time in state history, all public State of Illinois checkbook payments since 1996 will soon be online at OpenTheBooks.com. Turns out, "three days of work" wasn’t an "undue burden."
Our suit forced the IL Comptroller to finally comply with the law. It shouldn’t have taken 18 months and a lawsuit. At OpenTheBooks.com, 40 of the 50 state checkbooks are already posted online.
"We aren’t asking the Comptroller to lead the charge on openness and accountability – only to follow the law." January 8, 2013 Press Conference
Illinois Freedom of Information law has an enforcement provision that allows for return of reasonable legal fees. Through our attorney, Michael Lotus of Howard Law Firm, our demand for return of our $45,000 (so far) in legal costs is not negotiable. Non-payment would have a chilling effect on future citizen lawsuits of equal importance to rectify instances of trampled rights.
In these hyper-partisan times, Comptroller Judy Baar-Topinka (R) and Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) found common ground attempting to hide the state checkbook from taxpayers- a position that pitted them against us all.
The taxpayer’s won. Pay up, Judy- and let’s move on.
P.S. Help us to continue to post "every dime online" and Open The Books on all public spending. Please invest in our work by donating $25, $50, $100, $250 or $500 today.