Skip to main content
Dave McKinney

Dave McKinney

Reporter, State Politics

Dave McKinney, state politics reporter at WBEZ, spent 19 years as the Chicago Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief with additional stops at Reuters and the Daily Herald. His work also has been published in Crain’s Chicago Business, the New York Times and Chicago Magazine.

McKinney, named by the Washington Post in 2014 as one of the country’s best statehouse reporters, has won the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Best-in-Business award, the Chicago Headline Club’s Lisagor Award for political and government reporting, the Chicago Bar Association’s Herman Kogan Award for Meritorious Achievement and the Chicago Journalists Association’s Sarah Brown Boyden Award. McKinney also was named Journalist of the Year by his alma mater, Eastern Illinois University, inducted into the university’s journalism hall of fame and was recipient of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s Dawn Clark Netsch “Straight Talk Award” in 2015.

In Springfield, McKinney captured Rod Blagojevich’s final words as governor on the day of his 2009 impeachment by asking if he felt obliged to apologize to Illinoisans. “Sorry for what?” Blagojevich answered in a phrase that became the next day’s front-page headline. McKinney also covered corruption under Blagojevich and George Ryan, came face to face with Fidel Castro during Ryan’s 1999 trip to Cuba and live-tweeted an exorcism by Springfield’s Roman Catholic bishop after Illinois legalized gay marriage in 2013.

A lifelong Illinoisan with family roots downstate, McKinney is married, the proud father of two children and owner of a golden retriever and Wheaten terrier.

Recent Stories


‘That’s A Sad Woman’: Struggling Lincoln Foundation To Sell Monroe, Sandburg Photos

The photos highlight the unlikely friendship between one of Illinois’ greatest poets and America’s most iconic sex symbol.


Rauner Blames Legionnaires’ Outbreaks On ‘Floods And Tornadoes’

The governor blamed the deadly outbreaks on the weather, but experts say there is no proof.


‘Rest In Honor’: Quincy Vet Hosted By Rauner Dies After Legionnaires’ Illness

The Air Force vet was a guest at Rauner’s State of the State speech. He later got Legionnaires’ and died after a series of health issues.


Fired Madigan Aide In For 6-Figure Public Pension

The ex-Madigan aide is in line for a $125,000 pension despite being fired over harassment and bullying allegations.


Legionnaires’ Crisis Spurs Stack Of Bills Headed To Rauner’s Desk

Gov. Bruce Rauner is being asked to sign eight bills spurred by WBEZ’s reporting into Legionnaires’ disease at a state veterans’ home.


3 Crazy Things That Just Happened In Illinois Politics

Blagojevich goes from "you're fired" to maybe "you're commuted," Rauner's OK with the budget, and another harassment claim in Springfield.


Budget, ERA, Quincy Fix Advance In Illinois Legislature

Nothing works like a deadline: Lawmakers forwarded a state budget, the Equal Rights Amendment and money to fix the Quincy veterans’ home.


Records Show Quincy Home Couldn't Find Woman Who Later Died Of Legionnaires’

Was Dolores French dead for two days before the Rauner administration found her? A coroner says yes, the state says no.


Documents: Rauner’s Own Administration Critical Of Legionnaires’ Notification

Rauner’s Veterans’ Affairs Department says it properly notified staff of a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak. His Labor Department disagrees.


Top Democrat: Full Quincy Legionnaires’ Fix Could Come After Election

Senate Democrat says Rauner could get $16 million to repair a troubled veterans’ home, but the governor’s $245 million plan is in question.


Rauner Urges $245M Fix To Troubled Quincy Vets’ Home

After a WBEZ investigation, Rauner wants lawmakers to replace the home where 13 residents have died of Legionnaires’ since 2015.


Top Rauner Aide Suggested Blaming Duckworth For Legionnaires’ Deaths

The idea was floated in an email from Rauner’s deputy chief of staff. “I’m not going to dignify that email from her,” Duckworth says.


IL Veterans' Affairs Chief To Resign Amid Quincy Legionnaires' Scandal

The head of the agency that oversees a state-run veterans’ home plagued by Legionnaires’ disease is resigning.


Bill Could Award Legionnaires’ Victims’ Families $2M From State

The measure comes after a WBEZ investigation into a troubled downstate veterans’ home that saw 13 people die from the disease since 2015.


Casino Sale Raises Questions About A Windfall - Or A Conflict - For Pritzker

The proposed sale of an Illinois casino may mean more than $3M for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and free him of potential conflicts of interest.


Illinois Report Alludes To More Legionnaires’ Cases At Quincy Home

The report says there is the possibility that spikes in pneumonia in 2006 and 2008 could have been related to Legionnaires’.


The Legionnaires’ Emails Rauner Doesn’t Want Lawmakers To See

See what Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration redacted when Legionnaires’-related emails were released to lawmakers.

WBEZ Updates

Ives Reluctantly Says She'll Vote For Rauner

The Republican who narrowly lost Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary is reluctantly saying she’ll vote for Gov. Bruce Rauner this fall.


Rauner: Replace Downstate VA Home With New ‘Ultra-Modern’ Facility

The governor’s plan come as his administration faces mounting criticism over how it handled a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak at the home.


State Health Chief Calls His Email About Legionnaires’ Death ‘Insensitive’

Illinois’ public health director says his email reaction to the son of a grieving Legionnaires’ victim is “not something I’m proud of.”

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.