It's your money

But Pritzker's dog ate the homework

Since March, Gov. JB Pritzker has spent nearly $240 million for supplies needed to respond to the pandemic.

Records on the comptroller’s website outline the spending and amounts involved. Disinfectant. Bleach. Thermometers. Body bags. Sanitizer. Hospital beds. The list of stuff bought with public money under the governor’s emergency declaration is extensive. It includes, according to the comptroller’s website, $576.40 paid for 20 packages of Post-It notes, nearly $500,000 for MRE rations and almost $461,000 for 800 iPhones.
click to enlarge Gov. JB Pritzker has stonewalled requests for records on coronavirus spending/
Gov. JB Pritzker has stonewalled requests for records on coronavirus spending/

The spending may or may not be wise. Under Pritzker’s emergency proclamation, the governor can spend money, on his own, without prior approval from anyone. Asked for invoices, the comptroller’s office said ask the governor: We haven’t gotten any invoices from Pritzker. So Illinois Times on May 7 asked the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for copies of four invoices, including the one for Post-It notes, which were supplied by a Chicago company. The agency demanded a formal request made under the state Freedom of Information Act. Today, we got a response from a paralegal in the IEMA’s legal office.

“Under the Freedom of Information Act, a public body may extend the time to respond to a FOIA request by up to five business days,” the paralegal wrote. “We are extending the time to respond to your request by five business days for the following reason: The requested records have not been located in the course of the routine search and additional efforts are being made to locate them.”

Four times since May 8, Illinois Times has asked Jordan Abudayyeh, Pritzker’s spokesperson, for help prying loose four invoices from IEMA, plus a fifth for the 800 iPhones, which cost the state $576 apiece. “Wha (sic) invoices?” she asked when the paper sent the first email asking for her help in getting the invoices. She has not replied to subsequent emails asking for help in releasing invoices detailing expenditures of public money authorized by the governor’s office.

Note: A previous version of this story included an incorrect amount for expenditures on MREs.

Contact Bruce Rushton at

Illinois Times has provided readers with independent journalism for more than 40 years, from news and politics to arts and culture.

Now more than ever, we’re asking for your support to continue providing our community with real news that everyone can access, free of charge.

We’re also offering a home delivery option as an added convenience for friends of the paper.

Click here to subscribe, or simply show your support for Illinois Times.

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment