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Governor’s Office facing FOIA lawsuit

Illinois (ECWd) –

A Freedom of Information Act request was made for “any policy that is the basis for any agency requesting the assistance of the Governor’s office in responding to FOIA requests”.

We understand the policy sought does exist but the Governor’s office is claiming they are exempt because they are “between a public body and an attorney or auditor representing the public body that would not be subject to discovery in litigation,” and under 7(1)(f), which exempts, “[p]reliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, memoranda and other records in which opinions are expressed, or policies or actions are formulated.”

We agree with the position taken in the lawsuit.  The requester asked for the actual policies that apply to IOG’s handling of FOIA requests and the exemptions invoked do not appear to apply.

This policy is believed to tie policial concerns with the release of records.  We have been told that any FOIA that may have a negative political impact is to be reviewed by the Governor’s office prior to its release.  Such a policy is outside the intention of FOIA and clearly creates yet another major hurdle for the Governor to jump over if he intends on running again.

Based on the information in the filing, we suspect the courts will side with the Plaintiff.  If and when the records are provided, will they match those known to others?

Garrett v. IOG - Complaint

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