The BGA’s history goes back to 1923, when a small group of clergymen, lawyers and businessmen created the organization to fight corruption in government. The founders believed that “public officials under close scrutiny would serve the public better; that the best voter was an informed one, and the best citizen was an involved one.”
For its first 30 years, the BGA pursued an active program of voter education, election reform and encouragement of efficient government. In 1957, the BGA took on a major new role by adopting a policy that placed the emphasis on investigative work, leading to some of the most significant journalistic exposés published in Illinois.
In 2009, the BGA expanded its mission in an effort to strengthen its role as a force for government reform. Under the leadership of Andy Shaw, the BGA developed a comprehensive agenda that combines in-depth journalistic investigations with advocacy and strategic civic engagement campaigns to effectively educate and mobilize citizens across the state of Illinois in pursuit of better government.