Spending records

The government’s ability to tax the public imposes not only a responsibility of stewardship—to spend that money wisely—but also a responsibility of transparency. Patrick Ishmael and Phil Oehlerking started the Show-Me Checkbook Project to determine how difficult it is to obtain spending records from Missouri government bodies, with an emphasis on local government, and to find out how government spending transparency can be improved.

In this essay, Ishmael and Oehlerking detail the difficulty they encountered in trying to get a full accounting of spending records from Missouri local governments. They then detail possible reforms that would help make local governments more transparent. To read the entire essay, Government Spending Records Should Be Free and Open to the Public, click on the link below.


About the Author

Patrick Ishmael
Director of Government Accountability

Patrick Ishmael is the director of government accountability at the Show-Me Institute.

Philip Oehlerking
Research Assistant

Philip Oehlerking graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in political science. His research interests include transportation policy and government transparency.