SPRINGFIELD, IL. (ECWd) -
Is Lisa Madigan's office failing in its responsibility to act as a resource for citizens who are denied access to public records? We believe it is. Over the past several years, we have filed several Requests For Review with the Public Access Counselor in an attempt to either gain access to public records we were denied, or to ask for a determination of alleged Open Meetings Act violations. Both laws, Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) and Opens Meetings Act (OMA), codify Madigan's ability to review and make determinations on whether documents must be disclosed, or whether a public body is violating the Open Meetings Act.
On Lisa Madigan's Official Website:
Fighting for Open and Accessible Government: Attorney General Madigan’s commitment to making government more open and accessible led her to create one of the first Public Access Counselor (PAC) positions in the country as a resource for citizens who are denied access to public records. Further, Madigan successfully pushed for the first major overhaul of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in decades. Working with open government advocates, the legislation strengthened state transparency laws to hold government more accountable. The new law codifies the Public Access Counselor’s ability to review and determine whether documents must be disclosed under FOIA or whether a government body has violated the Open Meetings Act. Madigan has received the "Sunshine Award" from the Society of Professional Journalists for her important contributions in the continuing fight for open government.
From Real Life:
There appears to be a breakdown as to time-frames in which to expect a response from the AG's office after filing a complaint, or a request for review. We have been fighting for access to some records since early 2011 - that is more than two years. Even after the AG's office directed the public body to provide the records!
We have made every attempt known in order to solicit an acceptable response, only to receive no call backs, or no email responses.
Below is just one of many requests for review that are without decision. This one has been more than 10 months (here) (had a pdf printing problem today and there are a couple blank spots in the document, but the point will still get across).
I originally requested the records on February 5, 2013, received a denial from the county, and submitted a FOIA request for review to the Attorney General on February 21, 2013. If you have been following this site for any length of time, you should be aware of the fact that the auditors must provide the records requested since they are a contractor for the county. It is written in the FOIA law, they have no option. So why does this take so long? Failure of the Attorney General's office.
Which leads us to other questions for Edgar County and their auditor:
Do the auditors routinely insert false statements into audits?
What other things have they falsified for the county?
Who told them to insert that statement into the audit and why didn't they ask for proof?
Did the former county board think we wouldn't see it buried in the audit?