Open Books

open booksThis page offers online resources for people making efforts to keep tabs on government. If you have a link you’d like to share, or to report a broken link, please contact

Local Resources: Government

  • City of DeKalb Transparency Page
  • This overpriced website is a clunky underperformer, but in most cases does contain the bare minimum of information required by state law.

  • City of Genoa, Illinois

  • City of Sycamore, Illinois

  • DeKalb County Government
  • The above link starts your navigation to various county departments and documents. If you don’t see what you want on the opening page, try the A to Z index. We’ve also broken out a few commonly sought county links below: County Clerk, Forest Preserve and Property Tax Search.

  • DeKalb County Clerk & Recorder
  • Go here for election information, vital records and Freedom of Information Act requests.

  • DeKalb County Forest Preserve District

  • DeKalb County Property Tax & Assessment Search
  • Property tax database search allows lookups by name, address, or parcel number.

  • DeKalb Park District

  • Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District
  • Formerly known as the DeKalb Sanitary District, Kish Water Reclamation serves the City of DeKalb area, but is a separate governmental unit supported mostly by user fees.

  • DeKalb School District/CUSD 428: Cortland, DeKalb & Malta

  • DeKalb Township, Illinois

  • Town of Cortland, Illinois

  • Village of Maple Park, Illinois
  • Part of Maple Park lies in DeKalb County, part in Kane.

    Local Resources: Watchdog

  • DeKalb County Online
  • To understand how the local cogs fit together, don’t miss this well-established online magazine that is popular both for community news and its advocacy of better government.

  • Open the Books
  • 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Burr Ridge, IL, specializes in revealing government spending down to the municipal level.

    Neighboring Illinois Counties: Government

  • DuPage County’s Official Website
  • This is one of the better county websites out there. Don’t miss the Ethics page.

  • Village of Maple Park, Illinois
  • Part of Maple Park lies in DeKalb County, part in Kane.

    Neighboring Illinois Counties: Watchdog

  • Boone County Journal
  • The Journal is an independent weekly newspaper available for free in downloadable PDF.

  • Boone County Watchdog
  • Visit this daily reading list to follow issues in Boone County and beyond.

  • McHenry County Blog
  • Find a mix of news and opinion in the public interest with emphasis on McHenry County.

    State Resources: Government

  • Attorney General’s Charitable Database Search
  • Obtain financial details as well as scanned annual financial reports from public charities and private foundations going back as far as FY2003.

  • Illinois Comptroller’s Office: Local Government Warehouse
  • Jump from this page to information about Annual Financial Reports (AFRs) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF), including access to reports from local government units. (AFRs go back to 2000, TIF Annual Reports to 2010.)

  • Illinois Gaming Board
  • Wonder no more about how much our communities spend on riverboat and video gaming, and the revenues reaped by state and local govs.

  • Illinois Secretary of State
  • This office oversees 20 departments from state archives to business services, libraries to vehicle services. Databases include registrations of corporations and historical vital statistics.

  • Illinois State Board of Elections
  • The site serves voters, candidates and committees and supports a number of searches, including campaign contribution disclosures.

  • Public University Salary and Benefits Database
  • Public Act 96-266 requires each public university and community college to regularly report salary and benefit information of president, administrators and faculty members to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

    State Resources: Watchdog

  • Better Government Association: Public Payroll
  • Searchable salary info for public officials in Illinois, including some regional and downstate municipal sources.

  • Capitol Fax
  • The “political intelligence” blog with a statewide focus, by Rich Miller.

  • Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s Sunshine Project
  • “Sunshine” was one of the first state-level databases in the country to track political contributions and expenditures. The Campaign “cleans up” the data it gets from the Illinois State Board of Elections to make it easier to “follow the money” and it posts Statements of Economic Interests as well.

  • Illinois Leaks
  • AKA “Edgar County Watchdogs,” this group made headlines in 2014 with a citizens’ arrest of the Clark County Park District Board for its failure to allow public comment during a board meeting. Get watchdog news from around the state or use the hotline to leave a tip.

  • Public Notice Illinois
  • Started in 2008, this is a newspaper-fueled database of notices of government activities that are legally required to be published. The site continues to add participant newspapers and has a goal of collecting every public notice that is published in Illinois.

    Nationwide Resources

  • Aircraft Information – Aircraft Owners, Registrations
  • Look up airplane registration information by location, individuals’ names, registration numbers and more.

  • National Police Misconduct Reporting Project
  • The Cato Institute shares credible stories of police misconduct in the U.S. with a daily roundup-style report and a searchable database.

  • Nonprofit Explorer
  • Search ProPublica’s database containing 9.6 million tax records from not-for-profit organizations.

    Last updated January 20, 2018.

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