Epoch Times readers were outraged when they first read my initial news story about the estimated $350 million in secret royalty payments to former National Institutes for Health Director Francis Collins, NIH’s infamous Anthony Fauci, and hundreds of the agency’s doctors, researchers, and scientists.

During the next several days, I compiled three more stories — here, here, and here — advancing the NIH secret royalties issue, and at last count, those reports had been shared more than 20,000 times by readers.

I have since received a great deal of positive feedback and compliments for breaking that story. And trust me, speaking as a journalist who has covered the swamp for more than 30 years, it’s always encouraging to hear that readers appreciate your efforts to shine light in the dark places of our nation’s capital. Believe me, there are many dark places.

But the real hero in this exposure of what has the look of a huge nascent national scandal is a guy who you may have seen from time to time on cable TV, but he’s not one of the household names out there in the Real World.

He should be, however, because, with respect to transparency and accountability in government, Adam Andrzejewski has contributed mightily to advancing the cause of preserving individual liberty, limited government, and the constitutional republic bequeathed to us by the Founders of this great country.

Consider this brief list of accomplishments and victories won by Open the Books (OTB), the non-profit government watchdog founded by Andrzejewski to put government spending at all levels “Every Dime Online, in Real Time.”

  • By filing more than 47,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests since OTB’s founding in 2011, Andrzejewski’s watchdog group has now posted on the Internet the salary and pension records of 107 million public employees at every level of American government. And hundreds of those FOIA requests were ignored or abused by the officials receiving them, with a result that OTB had to take the offenders to court.
  • OTB has also posted on the Internet the “checkbook registers” for 49 of the 50 states and numerous municipalities, thus making available to taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in public spending, much of which the politicians in both political parties would rather keep hidden behind closed doors. And OTB is in court as this is written forcing California, the lone holdout, to cough up its checkbook.
  • Through its FOIA-based investigations and often working with media outlets like The Epoch Times, OTB has exposed countless scandals in addition to the $350 million NIH conflicts of interest, including, among much else, reports on the fact Fauci is the highest-paid federal employee, the $2.3 Trillion, that’s Trillion with a T, in mistakenly spent federal tax dollars, federal funding of the Fortune 100 big corporations, and the $27 billion in federal funds going to America’s “sanctuary cities” where illegal immigrants, who are now flooding across our border, are welcomed with open arms.

Along the way, OTB has encountered more than a few whoppers from public officials seeking to evade accountability or outright conceal the truth about their activities.

My personal favorite here is this one from OTB’s long-running effort to open up the California state government’s checkbook:

“Unfortunately, last fall, California State Controller Betty Yee (pictured) rejected our sunshine request for the state checkbook. Oddly, the rejection didn’t argue the law, but instead claimed that the controller couldn’t locate a single one of the 49 million bills she paid last year.”

What Andrzejewski and the OTB have accomplished is nothing less than creating the largest database of public spending at all levels of government ever compiled.  In the process, they have fulfilled, far better than the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the vision of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the father of, for a website that would put “all federal spending at the fingertips of anybody with a computer and Internet access.”

What Coburn and Andrzejewski understood far better than the vast majority of Republican congressmen and party officials was this simple fact: “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”

And, as I’ve been preaching to folks on the Right for so many years, that fact makes transparency, and the accountability it encourages, the biggest enemy of the Big Government that is steadily smothering this nation.

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