By: Diane Benjamin
It isn’t a secret that I work with the Edgar County Watchdogs (IllinoisLeaks). John Kraft and Kirk Allen are responsible for over 100 so-called “public servants” leaving office for a variety of reasons.
John and Kirk started by investigating government waste, fraud, and abuse in their own backyards. Today they get tips from all over Illinois because crimes are being committed and citizens have no where else to turn. Too many local police, sheriffs, and State’s Attorneys refuse to prosecute corruption. Google Edgar County Watchdogs, a long list of investigations they have led will appear, the latest being the College of Dupage. The Chicago Tribune even did an expose on them. https://blnnews.com/2015/03/02/ec-watchdogs-front-page-of-the-chicago-tribune/
That brings me to Arcola Township. When public officials refuse to follow the law, it only makes investigators want to know more. Kraft and Allen have filed lawsuits against them – just like me they are a victim of Lisa Madigan’s Office that may take years to rule, even on the simplest issues. I filed the lawsuit against the City of Bloomington for the same reason.
A few weeks ago I sent a Freedom of Information Request for correspondence Arcola Township had written to State Senator Chapin Rose. Instead of delivering the documents by email, the Township sent paper copies by registered mail. Wasting taxpayer dollars must not be important to the Township. Below is one of the letters I received:
You can see them here: EC Watchdogs FOIA requests There aren’t 40+, there are 27 beginning in April of 2013 and ending in December 2014. One is even in response to what Arcola did give them, ECW wanted digit format instead of on paper, so really there was 26.
The letter written to Chapin Rose contains an obvious lie about the number of FOIA requests filed by Edgar County Watchdogs. If Arcola Township had just handed over the requested documents, the lawsuits would not have been necessary. Obviously the Watchdogs were following leads given to them by people who knew the issues.
John Clark lied to Chapin Rose, has refused to comply with the FOIA law, and wastes taxpayer money with Certified mail when email is free. How can citizens still trust him? Clark should immediately resign.
Tip to government: When Edgar County Watchdogs (or me) sends a FOIA request, make life easy on yourself – just comply with the law.