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BGA Sues Cook County for Refusing to Turn Over Clout Logs

Cook County government, led by Board President Toni Preckwinkle, won’t release documents showing extent of patronage. So the Better Government Association sues.

Andy Shaw and the Better Government Association
Andy Shaw and the Better Government Association

Which political figures are trying to get their people hired and promoted at Cook County government?

The Better Government Association would like to know, but Cook County government, led by Board President Toni Preckwinkle, refuses to release documents that would shed light on this issue.

So the BGA is taking the Preckwinkle administration to court. On June 30, the BGA sued in Circuit Court, accusing county officials of violating the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in refusing to release so-called clout logs.

"With all the problems we’ve seen in recent years with patronage – people hired by government based on politics, nepotism and other connections rather than qualifications – we’d think county leaders would want to clear the air and reassure the public that they’re monitoring this adequately," said BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw. "Instead, they want to hunker down and hide information – public information."

The county government is required to take written notes when political figures inquire about government jobs.

Citing FOIA, the BGA requested a copy of the logs "detailing potentially illegal employment-related inquiries and contacts that County employees have received from elected officials and politically connected people or organizations," according to the lawsuit.

But the Preckwinkle administration denied the request.

This is the most recent in a series of FOIA-related lawsuits filed by the BGA against local governmental agencies, including the Emanuel administration and agencies under his domain, such as the CTA and McPier.

The Better Government Association is a Chicago-based nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog group that works for integrity, transparency and accountability in government by exposing corruption and inefficiency; identifying and advocating effective public policy; and engaging and mobilizing the public to achieve authentic and responsible reform.

— submitted by the Better Government Association

James Tiernan July 03, 2014 at 07:28 AM
Go get em BGA!!! Don't sleep until all the dirt comes out from under the rug.
Harry Callahan July 03, 2014 at 08:33 AM
We have to take back our country from these dirty politicians from the WH right down to the state and local Gov. its just out of control.
Homewood Jim July 03, 2014 at 09:27 AM
Cities, counties, states, countries - like fruit, rot from within. At least in this case they can't blame the Republicans, because there aren't any. One-party rule is usually called a dictatorship. And there aren't citizens, there are only slaves.
Voice of Reason July 05, 2014 at 06:40 PM
"Cook County government, led by Board President Toni Preckwinkle, refuses to release documents that would shed light on this issue."? I'm waiting for the response that will come in a week or 2 which will be the Lois Lerner/IRS excuse that the "dog ate my homework", and that Two Years Worth of Lerner's emails are Gone, and her computer Hard Drive mysteriously destroyed. Somehow, the history of this Board (with the likes of Stroger, Sr. & Jr., William Beavers, and John Daley) doesn't bode well for being Responsible with Your Taxpayer Dollars...

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