Americans for Prosperity, Illinois chapter
The Americans For Prosperity (AFP) is a 501(c)(4) (Sunshine Review) nationwide organization of citizen leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. Its affiliate Americans For Prosperity Foundation (AFP Foundation) is a 501(c)(3) (Sunshine Review) committed to educating citizens about economic policy and a return of the federal government to its Constitutional limits.
The AFP started in 2003 when Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and its affiliated Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation (CSEF) seperated, and the CSEF became AFP.
Open records lawsuit
AFP Illinois and Judicial Watch have filed lawsuit against President Emil Jones and Governor Rod Blagojevich after multiple FOIA attempts to disclose the lump-sum member initiative funds were being spent.
"For years, the governor and Senate President Emil Jones have been conducting a cynical game of hide & seek with taxpayers' funds," said AFP-IL State Director Joe Calomino. "Instead of following the law which clearly states that requests for information from our state government must be fulfilled, the governor and Senator Jones apparently think they are above the law and simply do not need to comply. We intend to prove them wrong."
Judicial Watch, in conjunction with AFP, submitted the Freedom of Information Act requests to the Illinois Senate on February 25, 2008 and with then-Gov. Blagojevich's office on March 20, 2008. In a letter dated March 20 the Senate said they would not release any documents, citing "privacy interests," while Blagojevich's office never responded at all.
In an effort to make state government spending more transparent, AFP has backed legislation that would create an online database detailing all state expenditures.
In April 2008, Rep. Mike Tryon introduced HB 4765, which would require the Department of Central Management Services to create a transparency site called the Illinois Accountability Portal. The bill received bi-partisan support and was passed unanimously in the House, 108-0.
AFP led a coalition of 17 organizations urging the Senate to pass the bill. Joe Calomino, AFP-IL director, said, “We believe that government should have nothing to hide from the taxpayers that fund it, and this push for state spending transparency is driven by that belief.” The bill was also promoted by the Daily Herald newspaper. On their op-ed page, the paper stated, "The prevailing view should be that a state citizenry that has seen more than its share of wasteful, extravagant spending in state government, not to mention corruption, should be given a chance to see, for themselves, how their wages that go to taxes are being spent. Only a state senator who fears accountability would keep this bill from becoming law."
Despite the support, the Senate never brought the bill up for a vote.
In April 2009 Rep. Tryon introduced HB 35, which, like 4765, would mandate the creation of the Illinois Accountability Portal. With the fallout from the Blagojevich scandal, many think the time is ripe for increased government transparency.
AFP once against is supporting Tryon. Calomino stated, “Currently, Illinois is known as one of the most politically corrupt states in the nation. AFP already has a proven track record of leadership in transparency reform, including state level reform in Kansas and Oklahoma and strong support for the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. Illinois could easily become a national leader in transparency.”
Tryon expressed a renewed hope in the legislation. “Despite not being called for a vote last year in the Senate, I have new hope for the successful passage of this bill due to the change in leadership in the state capitol. With a new Senate President and a new Governor, I believe the time for reform is now,” he said.
- Cutting taxes and government spending
- Tax and Expenditure Limitations
- Removing unnecessary barriers to entrepreneurship
- Restoring fairness to our judicial system
- Educating citizens about the costs government is putting on global warming policies
- Right to Work
AFP Foundation gets its support from individuals, foundations and corporations who share its vision. Contributions are tax deductible. AFP gets its support from individuals and corporations which share its vision. Contributions are not tax deductible. AFP and AFP Foundation also accept contributions of stock and bequests from donors wishing to include them in their estate plans.
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- Wikipedia Article on AFP
- Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Prosperity Applauds Judicial Watch Lawsuit Against Gov. Blagojevich & Senate President Emil Jones, July 31, 2008
- Judicial Watch, Judicial Watch Files Open Records Lawsuit against Illinois Governor and Illinois State Senate over Pork Barrel Spending, July 31, 2008
- Daily Herald, Citizens need this portal to accountability, April 8, 2008
- AFP Illinois Newsroom, Taxpayer Watchdog Group Urges Immediate Up-or-Down Senate Vote on Budget Transparency Bill, April 3, 2008
- Rep. Michael W. Tryon, Rep. Tryon Fights for Transparent Government, April 2, 2009
- Americans for Prosperity