Illinois OpenBook Lets Citizens Track Influence

Injured Piggy Bank WIth Crutches

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger has launched a new effort that will allow citizens to compare campaign contributions and public contract awards online. The tool, called Illinois OpenBook is the newest government transparency portal released by the state.

By combining information from the Comptroller’s accounting system with information collected by the Illinois State Board of Elections, residents are able to enter the name of an organization that does business with the State of Illinois and look at the political contributions that entity or its employees have made.

“I am excited to make this announcement because I believe that government should be an open book that provides a full accounting for public dollars.” Munger said.

After a somewhat scattershot approach toward using technology to improve transparency and service delivery, Illinois has made a big push in recent years. In addition to OpenBook the Comptroller’s office also maintains an online repository of state finances and a running tally of unpaid bills. As CivSource reported in February, Illiois is also developing a broader technology roadmap to become a smart state.

With OpenBook, Munger has put together several video tutorials to help citizens understand and analyze the information available on the site. The portal is also responsive if people access it on their mobile devices.