The Edgar County Watchdogs are well known across Illinois, especially in the halls of government, where they have investigated everything from Open Meeting Law violations to rampant abuse by public officials and possibly criminal activity. Now they are about to get national recognition when they are featured on “60 Minutes” later this year.
The Watchdogs are the ones who broke the story about Auditor General Frank Mautino's questionable campaign-fund spending, which is under federal investigation.
Watchdog John Kraft said their work has led to 192 elected officials resigning, being voted out, or investigated.
"Success for us is actually getting results with whatever public body we're looking into," Kraft said. "If they're misspending on their credit cards, they stop. If they're misspending public funds, they quit doing that."
Kirk Allen and Kraft travel the state, training other citizens on how to ask their own questions and hold their governments accountable.
"We've lost faith in the fact that we can make a difference," Allen said. "We hope to show people that they can make a difference."
The Watchdogs are expanding their focus. The pair are now investigating stories across the state, beyond Edgar County.