Sorry Illinois politicians, PolitiFact is back

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, flanked by Republican members of both chambers speaks during a news conference during the second day of a special session on education funding at the Illinois State Capitol, Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Springfield, Ill. (AP)
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, flanked by Republican members of both chambers speaks during a news conference during the second day of a special session on education funding at the Illinois State Capitol, Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Springfield, Ill. (AP)
Justin L. Fowler Caption: 	The Illinois Senate stands adjourned shortly after coming to order during a special session on education funding at the Illinois State Capitol, Monday, July 31, 2017, in Springfield, Ill. (AP)
Justin L. Fowler Caption: The Illinois Senate stands adjourned shortly after coming to order during a special session on education funding at the Illinois State Capitol, Monday, July 31, 2017, in Springfield, Ill. (AP)

For a fact-challenged era in a fact-challenged state, The Better Government Association has enlisted as Illinois’ fact-checking referee.

Beginning Aug. 1, the Chicago-based government watchdog becomes the exclusive Illinois affiliate of PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking project with a goal of holding politicians and government officials across the nation accountable for the things they say.

The first in what will be a regular series of BGA-produced factchecks focuses on a claim by Gov. Bruce Rauner that a school funding reform package at the center of yet another budget dispute with the legislature amounts to a bailout for Chicago’s troubled teacher’s pension fund. BGA analysis determines that claim to be False.

PolitiFact, a decade-old project of the Tampa Bay Times, vets the accuracy—or lack thereof—of assertions by leaders in Washington and several states where it maintains partnerships with news organizations that conduct local fact-checks.

Its exclusive Truth-O-Meter aims to objectively rate the credibility of political speech on a sliding scale from True down to Pants on Fire!

In a world increasingly awash in a lack of candor, PolitiFact has also won acclaim for designating a standout Lie of the Year.

The winner for 2016 was "Fake News," the umbrella for an array of misleading and fabricated stories that came to permeate the Internet possibly to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

"Never has straight-talk from our leaders been more necessary and never has it been in more short supply," said BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw. "We view the addition of PolitiFact as critical to our mission as a watchdog shining a light on the credibility of those we as taxpayers entrust, or consider entrusting, to manage government resources wisely, fairly and efficiently."