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April 21, 2024

AG: Carlinville violated FOIA in claiming request was for commercial purposes –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On August 2, 2018


Today, the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor has determined that the City of Carlinville improperly denied my request for public record under the Freedom of Information Act by claiming that it was for a commercial purpose. Read the determination at this link (here) or below.

According to the determination letter, the Attorney General repeatedly asked the city of Carlinville and its attorney Dan Schuering to respond to their request for a detailed explanation of their claim.

Twice, Carlinville’s attorney Dan Schuering and the city of Carlinville failed to respond to the Attorney General’s inquiry.

After Carlinville’s defeat in Sangamon County Circuit Court (2017-MR-25) of a previous FOIA request of mine in which they also improperly claimed was for a commercial purpose, the Attorney General decided to issue its opinion on this request for review.

Here’s the final determination:

This office has not received any information demonstrating that Mr. Kraft intended to use the records requested, or information derived therefrom, for sale, resale, or solicitation or advertisement for sales or services, or that he did not fall within one of the enumerated exceptions in section 2(c-10). Accordingly this office concludes that the City improperly treated Mr. Kraft’s February `15, 2017, FOIA request as seeking records for a commercial purpose.”

The enumerated exceptions (to being labeled as for commercial purpose) found in Section 2(c-10) of the FOIA are as follows:

(c-10) “Commercial purpose” means the use of any part of a public record or records, or information derived from public records, in any form for sale, resale, or solicitation or advertisement for sales or services. For purposes of this definition, requests made by news media and non-profit, scientific, or academic organizations shall not be considered to be made for a “commercial purpose” when the principal purpose of the request is (i) to access and disseminate information concerning news and current or passing events, (ii) for articles of opinion or features of interest to the public, or (iii) for the purpose of academic, scientific, or public research or education. 

Of course, we tried explaining that to Schuering and the City Council during public meetings, but they were hearing nothing of it. Now they must produce those records that I request on February 15, 2017.

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  • Christine Trzos
    Posted at 17:44h, 02 August


  • Dave
    Posted at 17:47h, 02 August

    With creative legal wrangling like that, they must have something to hide.

  • Sherry Brianza
    Posted at 19:20h, 02 August

    No surprise here!! Unfortunetjy AGAIN the city taxpayers pay for what is going on with bad attorney advice & by simply just not turning over material!! I would love to have our leaky old infrastructure repaired in this town but our elected officers & Atty’s would rather waste it on not complying to simple FOIA requests – what’s to hide??????? I hope voters remember this BS next election – I believe transparency was what our Mayor said she would provide – my job grade is a F on these matters!

  • Lisa
    Posted at 07:12h, 03 August

    this stuff happens a lot it appears.. similar stuff in Wesley township. since they hired Ancil glink attorneys they think they do not havta do anything and thumb their noses at the citizens even though they are being investigated by numerous government agencies.