Better Government Association: Shining a Light on Government

Better Government Association: Shining a Light on Government

The Better Government Association promotes reform in Illinois through investigative journalism, civic engagement and advocacy. We’re a watchdog, shining a light on government and holding public officials accountable.

Mission and Organization

The BGA works for integrity, transparency, and accountability in government by exposing corruption and inefficiency; identifying and advocating effective public policy; and engaging and mobilizing the electorate to achieve authentic and responsible reform.

Organization Structure

>> The Investigative Unit looks into allegations of waste, fraud and corruption in city, county, suburban and state government, and the results are made public through partnerships with local media. The BGA’s partners include: The New York Times through the Chicago News Cooperative, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, and the Chicago television affiliates of ABC, CBS and FOX. BGA journalistic investigations are guided by the newly adopted BGA Guidelines for Investigations and Oversight Protocols.

>> The Policy Advocacy Unit builds on the results of the BGA investigations to propose policy solutions to corruption, inefficiency, lack of accountability and waste in government. In 2010, the BGA Policy Unit is focusing on issues such as streamlining government, TIFs and judicial reform.

>> The Citizen Watchdog Training Unit encourages and teaches citizens to monitor and report on their local governments, working with BGA investigators and editors. Trainings will take place throughout the state, particularly in underserved communities.

>> The Citizen Education and Communication Unit is committed to responsible civic engagement by keeping the public informed with reliable facts, in-depth information and thoughtful perspectives. Our newly designed website will serve as the hub of all the organization’s units, information and dialogue. Through traditional media and social media, as well as its website, the BGA reaches hundreds of thousands of citizens to educate them on developments in local and state government, train citizens on techniques for monitoring government activities, provide information for whistleblowers, announce calls-to-action and generate vigorous debate.

>> Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Investigative Reporting highlight the importance of investigative journalism in advancing the principles of democracy, especially in today’s climate of crisis in the journalism community. They are presented each fall.