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BEV BUTULA: Illinois’ Ledger is an open book

The state of Illinois offers a website titled the Ledger. The site is a portal to the state’s financial records, reports and analyses. The website explains that “[u]sing the tabs…you can track the daily activity of the state’s accounts, perform searches on specific revenues, expenditures, and entities, or even track a state employee’s salary.”

An interesting database on the website is Illinois Open Book. Open Book allows the researcher to compare state contracts with campaign contributions. To produce this information the state combines information from the comptroller’s office with data from the State Board of Elections.

The researcher enters the name (or partial name) of a business/vendor and executes the search. A side-by-side listing of matches from both the state’s contract and contribution databases appear. From the result list, specific records can be selected to view details about the awarded government contract as well as the company’s political contributions. (Note: It is not the easiest database to search. In fact, I think the old adage “less is more” works best if conducting a search.)

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