Lawsuit Filed Against State Comptroller to Gain Access to Illinois' Checkbook

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Published on January 8 2013 7:15 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

A lawsuit was filed today to compel State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to make available Illinois' checkbook for public review.

The action was taken by the non-profit organization "For the Good of Illinois".  The organization has a goal of posting online every dime taxed and spent by all 7,000 units of Illinois government.  The goal is to post the information online so Illinois taxpayers have ready access.

"For the Good of Illinois" asked the Comptroller's office for all vendor payments for 2011 to see what gets paid for what.  The Comptroller's office denied the organization's Freedom of Information Act request, saying the request was "unduly burdensome" and would take multiple staff members more than three days to complete.

"For the Good" CEO Adam Andrzejewski took issue with the denial, contending that in this electronic era the request shouldn't be considered an undue burden.  "For the Good" appealed the matter to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.  Her office initially opened a case, saying "further inquiry is warranted."  Andrzejewski, though, said that after a few phone calls and letters, nothing has been heard from Madigan for five months.

In the arguments included in the lawsuit, "For the Good" shows that the federal government, other governmental bodies, 36 Illinois colleges and universities, and more than 900 Illinois school districts have provided information similar to that being requested from the State.

The lawsuit was filed today in Cook County Circuit Court and requests that the information be produced and that "For the Good"s expenses of the suit be reimbursed.