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,¬† let us know in our Facebook Group.

Local Resources: 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 Data.

Go here for election information, vital records and Freedom of Information Act requests.

Includes a property tax database search that allows lookups by name, address, or parcel number.

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.

Local Resources: Watchdog

To understand how the local cogs fit together, don’t miss this well-established online magazine that is popular both for its events calendar and coverage of local issues.

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

Neighboring Illinois Counties: Government

This is one of the better county websites out there. Don’t miss the Ethics page.

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

Neighboring Illinois Counties: Watchdog

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

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

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

State Resources: Government

Obtain financial details as well as scanned annual financial reports from public charities and private foundations going back as far as FY2003.

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.)

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

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

The site serves voters, candidates and committees and supports a number of searches, including campaign contribution disclosures.

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

Searchable salary info for public officials in Illinois, including some regional and downstate municipal sources.

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

“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.

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.

Started in 2008, PNI 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

Look up airplane registration information by location, individuals’ names, registration numbers and more.

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

Search ProPublica’s database containing 14 million tax records from not-for-profit organizations.

Last updated June 16, 2021.

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