The Illinois Auditor General is the only non elected constitutional officer in the State. The auditor General is chosen by the Legislature. Frank Mautino is the current state auditor, only the third since the 1970 Constitution.
The Auditor General audits public funds and programs of the State and reports findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and to the Governor.
An audit is great source of news. Major audits are picked up by the major stations and news providers and usually covered well. But by searching through audit findings you can sometimes discover audits that affect your listeners and viewers or another interesting aspect of a major audit that no reporter focused on. These are great ways to report relevant news that affects the taxpayers, whether its something at a local prison, or a full investigation into a program within a high profile state agency.They also provide agencies with specific recommendations to ensure full compliance with State statutes, rules, and regulations.
Using the Auditor General’s web site, you can find a lot of information about the spending taking place in State Government and Universities. Including:
Contract Award Notices You can check to see who is getting paid to do what, for how much — even the entertainers at the Illinois State Fair.
Emergency Purchase Filings This lets you keep tabs on purchases that had to be made quickly. You can find out how much a state university is spending to go to a playoff or bowl game or what major State building problem needed to be fixed. Or maybe things that don’t seem like an emergency or shouldn’t be an emergency.
Audit reports are reviewed by the Legislative Audit Commission in a public hearing attended by the audited agency’s officials. Testimony is taken from the agency regarding the audit findings and the plans the agency has for changes. Sometimes, those findings lead to a change in State law.