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

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.

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…



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