Looking at Government Spending

If you feel ambitious, type in your zip code where indicated in the following email from Adam Andrzejewski (say: Angie-f-ski):

Chairman, American Transparency:

In today’s Wall Street Journal, U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn (retired) recognizes our work in his editorial: for the first time ever in 20 states, from your smartphone, the ‘Books are Open.’

Now, you can search state spending (plus federal and local) right from the palm of your hand. Download our Open The Books app, free for Apple and Android here.

Our transparency revolution builds on the legacy of Dr. Coburn.

In 2006, then-Senators Coburn/ Obama’s historic “Google Your Government Act” opened the books on federal spending making our work possible.

  • Time Magazine named Coburn to their 100 Most Influential People in the World list.
  • Dr. Coburn is the Honorary Chairman of American Transparency –OpenTheBooks.com.

Today, at Open The Books, we are executing on Coburn’s transparency vision. We’ve populated our app with the line-by-line checkbook spending in 20 states. These states are where 55% of all Americans live.

From Coburn’s editorial: 
Tom Coburn at a Family PAC Cruise.

Tom Coburn at a Family PAC Cruise.

The American people are rightfully clamoring for dramatic change in Washington. That won’t come through political showmanship-but it may come through a galvanized and vigilant citizenry monitoring how elected officials are spending their money.

I learned in Washington that identifying specific examples of waste and incompetence is the best way to bring about real change, and not just make noise. And Open the Books activists are already uncovering many examples of spending that’s questionable-or worse.

The goal of American Transparency’s project, Open the Books, is to put every dime of government spending-on all levels-online, in real time. It’s an ambitious and audacious mission to map government’s role in our lives.
Here are a few examples of what citizens are finding: 
  • In Lyons Township, IL, a school district treasurer’s pay  surreptitiously spiked to $295,000 from $163,000 in one year. After local citizens raised questions, the Cook County State’s Attorney indictment resulted in a nine year jail sentence.
  • $200 million in federal “small business” loans flowed to private country clubs across the country, including golf clubs, swim clubs, tennis clubs, gun clubs and beach clubs.
Adam Andrzejewski spoke to the Huntley Area Tea Party earlier this year.

Adam Andrzejewski spoke to the Huntley Area Tea Party earlier this year.

And much, much more!

Using our app, you can search by ZIP Code, vendor name, or your GPS location in a radius of 1 to 50 miles.

Also, search federal spending, salaries, and local salaries in 34,000 units of government across America. Watch our introduction primer on our Open The Books app here.

Stay tuned for more cool stuff coming soon from OpenTheBooks.com including our much anticipated oversight report on the EPA.



Looking at Government Spending — 4 Comments

  1. I believe Dr. Coburn voted for the wasteful Iraq war which is even longer than WWll, didn’t he vote for the tax cuts for the rich who were supposed to make all those jobs, didn’t he vote for a lot of waste the republicans wanted during Bush’s tenure.

    Maybe he and the other doctors in congress should stick with their primary trade.

  2. Open the Books is a great resource along with along with Better Government Association, Taxpayers United of America,the Illinois Comptroller Data Warehouse, & Truth in Accounting

    There’s a lot of information helpful to taxpayers from a wide variety of websites such as the Illinois State Board of Education, Edgar County Watchdogs / Illinois Leaks, TIF Illumination Project (upcoming TIF seminar Tues Oct 20th Woodstock click on the blog ad), Citizens Advocacy Center in Elmhurst and Better Government Association can assist with FOIA and Open Meetings Act questions; State of Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal; State Journal Register databases; Civic Federation; Illinois Policy Institute; Wirepoints; Illinois Campaign for Political Reform; Reboot Illinois; Illinois Watchdog; Illinois Auditor General; Chicago Tribune Pension Games; Ballotpedia; Illinois State Board of Elections; AFP Illinois; Heartland Institute; CMAP Community Snapshots; US Census Bureau; taxing district websites.

    Pick a taxing district and use these transparency websites to understand what is happening.

    The key is to pick 1 taxing district.

    If you don’t know anything about nothing you’ll do some good simply by focusing.

  3. Here is the Open the Books Snapshot Sending Spending report for McHenry High School District 156.


    http://www.openthebooks.com > Illinois > Reports > SnapShot Reports > Public School SnapShot Reports > Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the down arrow besides 50 items per page and choose 500 items per page > 2 > McHenry CHSD 156

    This is a 6 page report that lists:

    – Top 25 Salaries FY 2014
    – Total Annual Salaries and Employee Counts 2003 – 2014
    – CPI 2003 – 2014
    – Total Employee Counts 2003 – 2014
    – Top Pensions FY 2014
    – Top Annual Vendor Amounts and Accounts
    – Top Vendors

    If you like what they have to say donate some money.

    Their focus is transparency of government spending.

  4. That’s right Mark.

    Thanks for this extensive list.

    The TIF Illumination Project (upcoming TIF seminar Tues Oct 20th Woodstock Library, click on the blog ad) is right in our neighborhood!

    Tom Tresser is a public defender and civics professor in Chicago that took on Rahm Emmanuel.

    I look forward to going to this as TIF’s seem to be the trend in municipal spending but most people are under the impression it’s a grant.

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