The Better Government Association is shining a light on government—and getting results—in June, July and August 2011.


Aug. 27, 2011: FBI Looks at State Rep. Dan Burke’s Shady Scholarship
As a result of a BGA/Sun-Times investigation, the State Board of Education sends records to the FBI and the General Assembly’s ethics watchdog about a questionable legislative scholarship awarded by state Rep. Dan Burke. The BGA/Sun-Times investigation discovered that Burke granted a tuition waiver worth nearly $70,000 to the downstate daughter of his former legislative secretary.


Aug. 26, 2011: Gov. Quinn Signs Township Bill
In a step toward streamlining government in Cook County, IL Gov. Pat Quinn signs a new law that allows residents in individual townships to vote on eliminating the office of highway commissioner — generally the township government post with the largest taxpayer-backed budget. The BGA supports this measure.


Aug. 17, 2011: #BGALive with Rahm Emanuel
As part of our #BGALive virtual town hall series, Chicago Mayor Emanuel goes one-on-one with Andy Shaw and answers our good-government questions about: managing the $635 million budget deficit, addressing city credit card abuse, reforming education, making transparency and ethics a priority…and of course the hot topic of raising taxes. More than 1,000 people have watched the segment at www.bettergov.org.


Aug. 12, 2011: Whistleblower Weekly premieres on WLS 890-am Don Wade & Roma Show
The BGA begins an investigative partnership with the Don Wade & Roma show on WLS 890 AM. WLS listeners phone or email tips, BGA investigators dig into the stories, and Andy Shaw reports the findings with Don & Roma, every Friday morning.


August 2011: Citizen Watchdogs Training Sessions in River Forest, IL
Dozens of concerned citizens attend two BGA Citizen Watchdog Training sessions and learn exactly how to keep watch on government. Experts teach attendess about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA); and during our special Watchdogs of Education session, they learn about how schools operate and how budget decisions are made.

June 29, 2011: BGA Gaming Forum
In partnership with the Union League Club of Chicago, the BGA hosts the first major public discussion on the gaming expansion bill, Senate Bill 744, recently passed by the Illinois General Assembly. More than two hundred people attend the free event and nearly every news station in the city reports on the spirited discussion.
July 27, 2011: CPS Ousts Principal, Others, Over Free-Lunch Fraud
The Chicago Public Schools move to fire a principal and discipline 15 other employees, following disclosures by the CBS 2 and the BGA of apparent fraud in the free lunch program.

June 27, 2011: Suburban Mayor Living ‘Country Club’ Lifestyle, Courtesy of Taxpayers
Times may be rough, but in Country Club Hills, the mayor is rolling in the green, courtesy of taxpayers and donors to his campaign fund. A BGA/WGN-TV investigation into credit card abuse results in the town eliminating all but one city credit card.

June 18, 2011: Special Investigation: The High Costs of Wrongful Convictions
This seven-month investigation by BGA and the Center on Wrongful Convictions reveals the wrongful convictions of 85 men and women in Illinois cost taxpayers more than $214 million, and imprisoned innocent people for 926 years. Meanwhile, the real perpetrators committed nearly 100 felonies. The most shocking discovery was the cause of these wrongful convictions — we find that in 81 of the 85 cases, alleged government misconduct or error by police, prosecutors and forensic officials contributed to wrongful convictions.


June 15, 2011: Action Alert: Gov’t transparency under attack!
Through its new online “Action Center,” The BGA creates an e-advocacy platform allowing supporters to easily urge Gov. Pat Quinn to reject HB1716 — a bill that makes it harder for citizens to freely access public information under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA.) More than 400 faxes are sent to the governor’s office. Unfortunately, Gov. Quinn signed HB1716 into law. The BGA’s fight for greater government transparency continues…

June 3, 2011: Emanuel Cuts City Agency Credit Card Use After BGA/FOX Investigation
In response to BGA/FOX Chicago News investigations into credit card usage at city agencies, Mayor Rahm Emanuel promptly takes action to curb abuse by cancelling most city credit cards.

June 2011: Watchdog Wednesday
The BGA continues it’s weekly Watchdog Wednesday segments on WBBM Newsradio 780AM/105.9FM. Tune in every Wednesday morning at 10:20 a.m. to hear Andy Shaw discuss topical government-related issues worth keeping an eye on.

The BGA staff and board thank you for your interest and support. We’re watching, shining a light on government and holding public officials accountable. Please watch with us.