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Claire Ball for comptroller seeks government transparency

Claire Ball at desk with jelly beans (photo)

Claire Ball with her trademark
jelly beans; her "bean counting" credentials were cited in the Chicago Tribune's campaign coverage.

This article was originally published in the Dec. 2015 issue of LP News (page 7).

Claire Ball, who has a master’s degree in accounting and finance and works as a corporate accountant, is running for Illinois comptroller in 2016, an office that has never been held by an accountant in the state’s 197-year history. Instead, it has been used as a political stepping stone or political reward for those in established parties.

Ball is running to create a new era of government transparency and accountability, by opening the books.

She explained to LP News her goals for the office of comptroller.

“I will establish clear rules for who gets paid and why, and then back up that rationale with action and documentation. The checkbook is already posted online, but there is no more clarity than before. There is no reasoning given for why some payments are made over others.

“Governmental accounting should be just as transparent as any business — more so since there are few motives to drive better behavior.

“I will get comptroller-related reporting out by the due dates. The 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report from the comptroller’s office was 255 days late, among the top five latest states (New Mexico was the worst — 407 days late). The states are already given twice as long as SEC-compliant companies, who have 180 days after the end of the fiscal year. That should be plenty of time to get the financials out.”

Ball contends that the role of comptroller should not be political, but rather one of recordkeeping and authorization of payment, headed by someone with the financial background required in every other area of business.

“The person keeping track of taxpayer money should be independent in mind and action. I don’t care who can do what for me; if either side tries to take advantage for the political/personal gain of their party, I will call them out on it.”

She says the strict rules for independence required of a CPA should apply to the comptroller.

Even though her name will appear on the general election ballot in November, her race is a special election to fill part of the term left vacant after the death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. The office will be up for grabs again in 2018.

This is Claire Ball’s second run for office. She ran for College of DuPage trustee in April of this year.

Claire Ball’s website: www.ClaireBallForIllinois.com