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Federal & State Spending Tracked by local man’s expanded website, Kankakee Daily Journal

Read original story from The Daily Journal here.

Political foes are lining up for budget battles in Washington, D.C., and Springfield.

They’re ready for federal and state negotiating sessions that will play out amid a flurry of competing spending cut strategies and tax revenue plans.

Meanwhile, in suburban Hinsdale, Adam Andrzejewski is taking a different approach to the government debt and budget issues. The former Herscher resident and one-time candidate for governor has managed to shake loose the federal and state checkbook registers. And, now, he wants every American to see exactly how their tax dollars are being spent.

In 2010, Andrzejewski started putting Illinois spending online, launching openthebooks.com. And Thursday, he opened federal payment records to anyone with a computer or a smartphone. They can now search by an individual or business name and see where their federal tax dollars go.

“The Illinois records were a challenge, but getting the federal spending  online was a nine-month project,” he said. “There were 120 million lines of data to put on our transparency portal.

“And the key is that this is searchable information — some of it from as far back as 2000. We posted the farm subsidy payments for the past four years. We have federal salaries for the past five years. And we have defense contract payments and a lot more,” he said.

The initial push for more transparency in federal spending came from a 2006 bill, co-authored by then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is now president. It was a $26 million effort to compile the information, but it wasn’t being utilized until Andrzejewski made it possible to effectively search the data.

“I think this will cut across party lines,” he said, noting that there will be information unearthed that could embarrass Republicans and Democrats.

And will that cause any discomfort for Republican Andrzejewski?

“Well, they say the truth will set you free,” he said.


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