SPRINGFIELD, IL. (ECWd) –
Pay attention Carlinville:
Last Friday, the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor determined that the McHenry County Blog was “news media” as that term is defined in the Freedom of Information Act.
McHenry County decided that FOIA requester Cal Skinner, McHenry County Blog, was a recurrent requester, ignored his news media status and refused to produce the requested records in a timely manner.
A request for review was sent to the Attorney General, who reviewed applicable case-law (Too Much Media v. Hale out of N.J.), reviewed Skinner’s website, and determined that the McHenry County Blog was “news media” under the FOIA.
The FOIA exempts “news media and non-profits” from being designated as recurrent requesters, voluminous requesters, and commercial requesters – which is why McHenry County and Carlinville both took this path to claim certain requesters were not “news media.”
The City of Carlinville has taken a similar path with Kraft and the ECWd – claiming they are not media, not non-profit, and are commercial requesters – which would have hypothetically allowed Carlinville take their time answering FOIA requests and charge whatever they decide to charge to answer FOIA requests.
Carlinville will fail just a McHenry County failed. Let’s just hope Carlinville gets a refund from its attorney for his horrible legal advice.