Illinois (ECWd) -
As part of our continued efforts to track communications in the Governor Rauner administration, we have filed numerous Freedom of Information Act requests.
As we reported in this article, our past request for emails sent and received by the First Lady was denied as unduly burdensome, followed with a claim that there are more than 7,500 emails during a nine-month period.
The original request was February 17th, 2018. Due to the holiday on the following Monday, the 5-day clock started ticking on the 20th, making the due date February 27th, which is 5 business days later.
On the date it was due, the Governor's Office invoked the unduly burdensome claim with a request to narrow our request.
We narrowed our request February 28th, 2018, as follows.
“1. All emails sent and or received that contain the word “protocol” in the body of the email.”
“2. All emails sent and received that contain the words “Abortion”, “HB40”, “silent majority”, “liberal democrat”, “ambivalence”, in the body of the email or subject line.”
After waiting 5 business days to receive my FOIA request, the Governor's office invoked yet another 5-day extension claiming the requested records have not been located in the course of routine search and additional efforts are being made to locate them.
Considering the State of Illinois has an E-Discovery system that is capable of keyword searches of emails in minutes, there is no excuse for claiming this exemption.
In what we considered an improper extension, we were assured today our FOIA would be complied with.
"Please be advised that, pursuant to 5 ILCS 140/3(e)(iv), this office is availing itself of an extension of five working days – through and including March 14, 2018 – to respond to your request."
Today makes seventeen business days from our original FOIA request and we still do not have our records. Yes, I said "our" records because they are the property of the citizens of the state.
So much for Sunshine week as they have failed to provide the requested records as required by law.
This is not much different than what we saw from the Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino. We had to sue the Auditor General in order to get the records and I suspect we will have to do the same with Governor Rauner.
Below is the letter extending the deadline to today or you can download it at this link.
FOIA 18-091 - Allen - Extension (004)
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