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June 12, 2024

Illinois Watchdogs Put Government on Notice –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On April 17, 2021

IL. (ECWd) –

In “Rules for Radicals,” Saul Alinsky urged community activists to hold the enemy accountable to its own rules. “No organization,” Alinsky wrote, “can live up to the letter of its own book.” Though not fans of Alinsky, two men from rural Illinois are taking a page from his playbook, making local government “live up to the letter of its own book” and exposing corruption and malfeasance in turn.

Kirk Allen and John Kraft started Edgar County Watchdogs, a government-accountability nonprofit, in 2011. By appearance, it is a humble operation – Allen and Kraft are the group’s only employees. Edgar County is smaller than most Illinois townships.

In terms of impact, however, the Watchdogs punch well above their weight. Allen and Kraft’s investigative work has resulted in 186 indictments, 28 convictions, and the removal of 425 officials and bureaucrats from public office. They’ve successfully . . . continue reading at:



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  • Judy Jenkins
    Posted at 11:45h, 17 April Reply

    We in Illinois are blessed to have Edgar County Watchdogs! Thank you!

  • NiteCat
    Posted at 12:20h, 17 April Reply

    They only whine when you’re over the target. Keep it up Watchdogs.

  • PK
    Posted at 15:19h, 17 April Reply

    Kraft and Allen generally approach local governments by providing information and making requests….at least that’s my impression after reading from their work and publications for some time. It’s when officials flaunt these actions that a more ‘biting’, tenacious tact ensues. So far, the good press they get from time to time doesn’t emphasis ECWd’s otherwise kind, or affable, approach. The poignant strive for better has to recognize what’s done well, or at least fairly good from time to time. Honestly opined by an avid Illinois Leaks reader and public body partner.

  • Eric Pratt
    Posted at 17:20h, 17 April Reply

    Outstanding. Keep people honest if they won’t do it themselves.

    Posted at 22:13h, 17 April Reply

    Great job guys and thanks for all you do! Well deserved accolades!

  • Mags
    Posted at 08:37h, 18 April Reply

    Well deserved coverage!!

    Thanks for all you do.

  • Ang
    Posted at 13:19h, 18 April Reply

    Nice PR for civilians holding government accountable (I noted someone put up a smear website bashing the ECW, but by the time I ran across it, I had already read the numerous mainstream news outlet pieces covering their work). Good to link to the good press to debunk the naysayers.

    Also, maybe look into the town of Elmhurst sometime. There is currently a kerfuffle going on over adding advanced life support capabilities so the actual fire department can tend to those in need of ALS services. The firefighter union supports this, but Elmhurst officials have argued that the locals are well served by the cut throat, for profit entity Superior Air-Ground Ambulance.

    Um…has anyone read their Better Business Bureau complaints lately?

    Go FOIA the Illinois Attorney General for additional complaints sometime. Also, they were in the news in very recent years over a driver not even transporting a patient but who, nonetheless, managed to either push or drag a Passat vehicle across all lanes of traffic. The Passat was stopped at the time it was hit (I assume this means brake lights should’ve been clearly visible).

    Now someone is going to chime in with “union firefighters cost more than a private service,” but couldn’t Elmhurst find anyone with less–err–major baggage in the form of lawsuit. air and ground traffic crashes alike and former executives pleading guilty to embezzlement?? No other private, for profit entity to consider?

    And where’s the monetary savings after all the legal settlements and victim hospital bills get paid out in these cases? These privately owned and run entities often put very inexperienced ambulance drivers out on the roadways with just a few months on the job experience. Take a look at the for profit ambulance business model; they don’t exactly top load with high wages, tons of experience and state of the art rigs when seeking profits. You end up with overworked, underpaid, exhausted EMTs, some also very inexperienced.

    All for a market economy in general, but for profit healthcare has real problems. Big problems. Just look at the private equity run nursing homes and COVID deaths for another example.

    So what are Elmhurst officials whining about how it will be too costly to equip the firefighters with advanced life support capabilities? Maybe the Watchdogs should FOIA every expenditure aside from EMS vendor contracts and see if they are being hypocrites while spending on other things? Very curious about that!

  • Roger
    Posted at 09:53h, 19 April Reply

    Many thanks for shining a light!

  • kathiann
    Posted at 10:17h, 19 April Reply

    You guys are GREAT! Keep up the good work. Make Illinois Great Again. MIGA!

  • GW ONE
    Posted at 13:00h, 23 April Reply

    Kraft and Allen are the best examples of law enforcement we have in Illinois.
    Look at what these two citizens have accomplished to expose massive wrongdoing In Illinois. Makes you wonder why our elected officials are not as competent as these public servants?

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