Attorney General

AG Lisa Madigan rendering FOIA Law useless –

SPRINGFIELD, IL. (ECWd) –

There are several instances where the inaction of the Attorney General’s office leads to the public being improperly denied public records. This is simply another case we decided to highlight today – more are coming:

Last summer Cook County decided it could violate the law and deny access to public records. I filed a request for review with the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor, and it was assigned file number 2014 PAC 30503.

This deals with Statements of Economic Interest, their online access, and their access thru FOIA.

The request for review was first filed in August of 2014 and the last response to the PAC was in August of 2014.

No further response from the AG’s PAC, no determination, no emails, no answers to requests for an update, nothing.

So here we are, more than 9 months after requesting records, more than 8 months after asking the AG for an opinion, and still no answer. How can this even remotely be considered “Freedom of Information”?

Thru the AG’s inactions, she has effectively rendered the Freedom of Information Act as useless – which is why the court systems are starting to have to deal with this issue more often, creating a financial hardship for the requester and for the public body – because the AG refuses to be responsive.

.

[gview file=”https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Request-for-review-30503.doc”]

.

[gview file=”https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2014-PAC-30503-1.pdf”]

.

[gview file=”https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/30503-2.doc”]

.

AGMadigan

12 replies »

  1. Our legislators gave every Illinois citizen two very effective tools. One is our FOIA law and the other is the OMA law. These tools are in use throughout Illinois on a daily basis and hopefully bring light to the workings of “our” government. They combat lies, corruption, criminal activity, and of course, all kinds of subterfuge. These “tools” are perhaps the greatest gifts from our legislators, because they give hope, and a means by which ordinary citizens can fix the bad things some of our government officials are quite capable committing.

    One of the greatest features of each of these laws is they don’t require the hiring of an attorney: they’re free. Any citizen can make a FOIA request and any citizen can file an OMA complaint regarding the conduct of their local government. You don’t need deep pockets or expensive attorneys to fight crime, corruption, criminal activity and as noted earlier, all kinds of subterfuge. You can actually be a member of the working class, have a budget, hold down a job, earn a pay check and contribute to your community in a very good way without mortgaging your house, robbing your bank account or risking your entire financial future fighting the unlimited resources of our government. Having the facts and the proof at a county board meeting or at any public meeting and sharing those thoughts is everything.

    By the way if you learn nothing from this, remember, our government has unlimited resources from which to defend itself and it won’t hesitate to use those resources to do so, even when it’s clearly in the wrong. You may not have that luxury.

    Having said that, the entire FOIA process as outlined in this article as well as, complaints regarding the OMA laws are processed by Lisa Madigan, the present Illinois Attorney General and her office.

    My experience with her and her office has been remarkably similar to what Mr. Kraft has written about except my experience involved an OMA complaint against the Edgar County Board. From the time my complaint was filed until I learned of the final determination it only took, it only took, it only took, it only took about 16 months: and yes, I was successful.

    In comparison, had this case been filed and tried in our court system by someone of means and with the aid of a paid an attorney: then the entire judicial process would likely have run full course in a far shorter time frame, perhaps just a few months. Clearly the message is if you’re an ordinary law abiding citizen and involved in a far less complicated process; justice will be served when our Attorney General is good and ready to allow you to have it. She/they have no deadlines, no schedules, no complaint or document tracking constraints and most of all, as public servants they really don’t seem in much of a hurry. I call it justice delayed………..and justice denied.

    And, they will call it justice, even though it took 480+ days to administer and sadly, they’re not at all embarrassed or apologetic about the time it took.
    The option of having excuses for every occasion, coupled with unlimited time constraints as exercised by the Attorney General and her office, clearly undermines the very laws our legislators intended for use by Illinois Citizens. If these laws are not working, then how can anyone protect Illinois government against those very few corrupt and self-serving government officials? We can’t, thanks to Lisa Madigan and her staff.

    Form another perspective, the time lag in acting on these complaints allows and provides a very real measure of protection to those corrupt officials hoping to avoid the light of day. In essence, this is not Motel 6 and no, thanks to Lisa and her office, the lights are not on.

  2. When those who CHOOSE to break our laws, and have committed felony crimes are held accountable, and sentenced to prison as required, not probation of any kind, then, and only then, will equal justice be served upon them and a clear message will be sent, examples made to everyone involved, especially our public servants involved in protecting them and perpetuating this ongoing public trust erosion to our foundations that it’s all built upon and our system of government relies upon to serve and protect We the People, ALL of us…NOT just some of us. Equal justice for all. Consider this please. Have a nice day.

  3. Come on guys, stop picking on poor Lisa. She has been busy teaching Fascism 101 at the local college and doesn’t have time for you. Maybe if you made a donation to her campaign fund she could find time…..