Friday, September 10, 2010

Illinois Counties Splurge on Lobbying: Millions of taxpayer dollars chasing bigger government

Press release from Sunshine Review

Alexandria, VA— Unbeknownst to most taxpayers, Illinois counties are lavishing millions of public dollars on lobbyists to increase the size and scope of government according to an exclusive analysis by Sunshine Review, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to transparency.

Because transparency laws frequently do not require disclosure of taxpayer-funded lobbying, Sunshine Review compiled data from Freedom of Information requests for the 10 largest counties in Illinois. The report revealed a whopping $6.2 million in lobbying expenses incurred by the counties between 2005 and 2010. Payments were funneled into 31 individual lobbying contracts and membership in 64 lobbying groups with the express purpose of influencing the Legislature and federal government to increase counties’ revenues—and thus grow the counties’ budgets and powers.

"This practice packs a double whammy for taxpayers who must first pay the lobbyists fees and then pay again in the form of higher taxes for the lobbyists "success" in increasing spending and growing government," said Michael Barnhart, president of Sunshine Review.

The 10 counties splurged $2 million on lobbying the Illinois State Legislature. DuPage County spent the most overall, with a total exceeding $1.8 million, while Will County reported $1.2 million in lobbying payments. Spending by county is as follows:


For more information, visit www.sunshinereview.org.

Contact
Diana Lopez
Senior Editor of Government Lobbying
Dlopez@sunshinereview.org
P: 630-392-1226

Sunshine Review is dedicated to state and local government transparency. The Sunshine Review wiki collects and shares transparency information, and uses a “10-point Transparency Checklist” to evaluate the Web site content of every state and more than 5,000 local governments.

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Unbelievable, eh? They spend our tax dollars to lobby for bigger, more intrusive government in order to spend an ever-larger portion of our tax dollars. Crazy.

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