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Americans for Prosperity, Illinois chapter

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Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a 501(c)(4) 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) committed to educating citizens about economic policy and a return of the federal government to its Constitutional limits.

History

The AFP started in 2003 when Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and its affiliated Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation (CSEF) separated, and the CSEF became AFP.[1]

Projects

Open records lawsuit

AFP Illinois and Judicial Watch have filed a lawsuit against Emil Jones and Governor Rod Blagojevich after multiple FOIA attempts to disclose the lump-sum of member initiative funds being spent.

"For years, the governor and Senate President Emil Jones have been conducting a cynical game of hide and 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."[2]

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.[3]

Transparency legislation

HB 4765

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.[4]

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.”[5] The bill was also promoted by The Daily Herald newspaper. On its op-ed page, the paper's editorial board 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."[4]

Despite the support, the Senate never brought the bill up for a vote.

HB 35

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 thought the time was right for increased government transparency.

AFP once again was 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.”[6]

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.[6]

Policy position

  • 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

Funding

AFP Foundation is supported by individuals, foundations and corporations who 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.[7]

Contact

118 N. Clinton
Suite 140
Chicago, IL 60661
Phone: (312) 768-2373

External links

References