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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ill. AG suggests all privacy exemptions go through her office first

Illinois public agencies wanting to cite privacy as their reason for withholding public records might have to go through the Attorney General's Office first, the Chicago Tribune reported. This proposal is included in Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan's package for pending legislation that would rewrite the state's weak FOIA. The privacy exemption allows officials to withhold anything that constitutes "a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." The Attorney General's Office would determine if using the privacy exemption was appropriately applied and then issue a binding decision.
Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan wants to force public agencies throughout Illinois -- from town halls to school boards -- to report to her office every time they cite privacy as an excuse to withhold public records.

"It is by far the most broadly abused exemption to the state records law," said Cara Smith, Madigan's deputy chief of staff. "We think that is far less likely to happen if they know they have to report it to us every time they use it. If they have a valid reason, then they will have nothing to worry about."

But a top lobbyist for municipal government in Illinois said the idea of elevating one exemption to public-records law over all the others is "without merit."
More here.


Anonymous said...

I can see why the Illinois Municipal League is fighting transparency since a search of its own records as a non-profit are no where to be found: Not registered with Secretary of State nor does the IL Attorney General's non-profit charitable data search engine bring up any information. There is, however, an Illinois League of Municipal Employees located in Peoria, IL EIN 362238734, but that was found in the NCCS National Center for Charitable Statistics and that organization hasn't filed any 990s since 2003. There is one more called IL Municipal League Building Corp, but it is a 501(c)(2) Title holding corp. for a tax exempt organization and they have no assets. If anyone can find info (990) on this organization, please let me know. Thanks.

Diana Lopez said...

I understand your frustration. At Sunshine Review, we are working on compiling information on such groups as the Illinois Municipal League (see our page here: http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Illinois_Municipal_League ). We hope to be a great resource in providing information that is normally hard to come by, and appreciate any contributions to our site.