Dave McKinney | WBEZ
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

On Background: WBEZ's Politics Podcast

Do Endorsements Matter?

Newspapers, unions, and even celebrities are throwing their weight — and in some cases, money — behind their choice for Chicago’s next mayor. This week, the WBEZ politics team digs in to a time-honored political tradition: endorsements. Do they still matter in 2019?

Public Official A

Part 4: The Tapes

The FBI recorded Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's phone calls for almost six weeks. What they heard shocked them.

WBEZ News

Pritzker Eying Borrowing, Long-Term Repayment Extension As Pension Fixes

A top Pritzker aide lays out plan for confronting Illinois’ $133.5 billion pension shortfall.

WBEZ News

Lawsuit: Big Campaign Donors To Mendoza, Solis Engaged In ‘Sham’

Firms that gave to mayoral hopeful Susana Mendoza are allegedly “front companies” for investors who profit from a state program.

On Background: WBEZ's Politics Podcast

Help! I don’t know who to vote for!

How the heck is a Chicago voter supposed to make sense of a mayor’s race with 14 candidates? Well, you’ve got about two weeks to figure that out. So WBEZ has cooked up a nifty way to help you choose which candidate you most align with, and our reporters answer some of your questions. Deep breath.

Public Official A

Part 3: Rod Likes To Run

Who is Rod Blagojevich? A retail politician who was great at working a room. But his obsession with climbing the ladder brought him down.

Public Official A

Part 2: It's A Family Business

The trouble started soon after Rod Blagojevich became Governor of Illinois. A federal investigation began and a powerful political family tore itself apart.

WBEZ News

Illinois’ Legalized Pot Push: ‘Prohibition Plain Just Does Not Work’

A leading lawmaker outlines what’s on the table in Springfield as the drive to let adults buy recreational marijuana hits high gear.

WBEZ News

Chicago's Mayoral Candidates Answer 20 Yes Or No Questions

Before you vote, read their answers.

WBEZ News

In About-Face, Mendoza Rids Campaign Of Solis-Linked Donations

Mayoral hopeful had said she’d donate contributions from government mole Danny Solis if he was charged. Then she changed her mind.

WBEZ News

Manteno Veterans’ Home Resident Dies After Contracting Legionnaires’

It’s the first Legionnaires’ death under Gov. Pritzker, who repeatedly hit his predecessor for fatal outbreaks at the Quincy veterans’ home.

WBEZ News

Mendoza Got Big Money From Solis, His Supporters

The mayoral candidate received campaign cash from Ald. Danny Solis. He was outed as a mole Wednesday for the feds’ investigation of Ed Burke.

Public Official A

Part 1: Spare The Rod

After Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested, he got a 14-year prison sentence. Under President Trump, there's a chance he will get out early.

WBEZ News

JB Pritzker Becomes 43rd Governor Of Illinois: His Speech And Roundtable Analysis

Pritzker, a billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune, takes the reigns of a state struggling to fund basic social services and pension obligations.

WBEZ News

Pritzker Takes Oath As Illinois Governor, Insists ‘Everything Is Not Broken’

Democrat JB Pritzker uses inaugural speech to push ambitious agenda, fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship. He’s Illinois’ 43rd governor.

WBEZ News

Taxes, Pot, Minimum Wage: Pritzker Outlines Ambitious First Term Agenda

Democratic Gov.-elect JB Pritzker tells WBEZ he wants to raise the minimum wage to $15, legalize pot, and change the state’s tax structure.

Public Official A

Preview: Public Official A

Remember when the governor of Illinois supposedly tried to sell President Obama’s Senate seat? Or, how the same ex-governor got a “You’re fired” from Donald Trump on 'The Celebrity Apprentice'? New from WBEZ Chicago, 'Public Official A' uncovers the rise and fall of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. How he did whatever it took to reach the top. The trail of destruction left in his wake. And how the complexities, charisma, and tragic flaws of this public official resonate today. The first episode comes out Jan. 18, 2019.

WBEZ News

Pritzker Supports Financial Audit Of Lincoln Foundation

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation wants a bailout. First, Illinois lawmakers say they want to audit their books.

WBEZ News

Grand Jury Subpoenas Rauner’s Office, Top Agencies In Legionnaires’ Probe

A grand jury has subpoenaed records from the governor’s office as part of a criminal probe into fatal Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks.

WBEZ News

JB Pritzker Wins Illinois Governor’s Race

In one of the most expensive governor’s races in history, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner suffered a resounding defeat to Democrat JB Pritzker.

Get the WBEZ App

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

CLOSE X