Illinois (ECWd) -
As we begin another year of pushing back against what points to be a total disregard for the rule of law by our public officials, we ask that you take part in fixing a system that is failing the people.
How can you help?
First, we ask that you read this article in its entirety, then reflect on the information and see if any of the following are ways you can help in our efforts of local government accountability.
- Take a few hours to learn how to become a watchdog in your own community through our training program.
- Attend local public body meetings to better understand what goes on with your elected and appointed units of government.
- Take action to expose what you find in violation of the laws, either directly or by providing us with the information.
- Make a financial contribution so that we can continue to expand the model of success and train others to do the same.
Over the last three years, we have exceeded 1 million readers annually with a three year average of 1,084,878. We know educating others is the key, and the more people reading our information, the faster we can obtain results. Please share our work with others!
When we began this government accountability project in 2011 we had no idea it would lead to where we are today. Having trained over 500 watchdogs in the past year, it is becoming clear the model works, provided people follow it.
Noteworthy victories as a result of our direct and indirect efforts are evidenced by law enforcement's selective involvement across the state. Indirect efforts are those in which we assisted others in accomplishing noteworthy efforts of local government accountability, either with direct assistance, or instructions on ways to accomplish the goal of local government accountability as it related to their specific issue.
- 164 Indictments (156 in State Court, 8 in Federal Court)
- Of those charged - 20 indictments led to Guilty verdicts
- 143 indictments pending trial
- One indictment led to a Bench Trial with a not-guilty verdict by the Judge.
Ongoing efforts to educate law enforcement on their obligation to investigate their own local public corruption will continue to be a focus leading to even more exposure of public corruption.
Additional evidence to our model's validity is indicated by investigations opened by authorities at the local and Federal level. To date, we can point to at least 6 Federal Investigations that were a result of our work. One of interest to all of us would be the US Attorney Investigation of our Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino. Having refused to testify in the State Board of Elections complaint we can only wonder if the federal authorities are going to take any action from their investigation.
We make note of the indictments based on those who continue to attack our work with the claim if any of our work was true people would be arrested. Investigations take time as our system moves slow but it does move if We The People move it. My suggestion to those that dispute our work; Prove us wrong as the indictments speak for themselves, as do convictions!
The efforts to identify, expose, and hold accountable, those in question has lead to 285 public officials leaving office. Those departures were in numerous fashions to include resignations, arrests, not running for office again and in some cases direct action by authorities to have them removed.
Although the model works, another challenge we have seen, and is going to take everyone's help to counter, is what is known as the combine in Illinois, the status quo of those in the system doing everything they can to protect their kingdom and what it provides.
This combine is no joke and must be dealt with. Just this last year we saw our successes hit major pushback from legislators who pushed legislation basically making illegal activity legal. When we exposed certain violations of law that came to close to home, as in their politically connected combine, their solution was not to enforce the law and call for charges for the crimes committed, but rather change the law to make those actions legal. We exposed numerous laws changed last year making those illegal acts legal and wrote about them here, here, and here.
Legislators taking this path have no business representing the people's interest, which is to prosecute lawbreakers, not change laws to protect them. Those who protect illegal activity should be run out of office.
One update to come is tied to financial savings of public money. We are compiling documentation to expose how many millions of dollars are no longer being spent based on our efforts of accountability.
It is duly noted, our work is not possible without all those brave people that stepped up and helped us on our journey by providing support from tips, time, assistance, and money. All key reasons for our success.
We look forward to 2018 being a banner year for the people of Illinois as we are yet another year smarter and experienced in unmasking the corruption infecting many parts of our local government.
Thanks for all the support, and remember, review the four ways to help above and do what you can!