SPRINGFIELD, IL- (ECWd)
Governor Quinn may be the first to face criminal charges stemming from a bill he signed a week ago, provided the Sangamon County State's Attorney is willing to enforce the new law!
Gov. Quinn signed into law on August 26th, 2014, changes to the Local Records Act. Specifically, the amended law has much stiffer penalties for those who violate it. "Any person who knowingly, without lawful authority and with the intent to defraud any party, public officer, or entity, alters, destroys, defaces, removes, or conceals any public record commits a Class 4 felony." (Click Here for IPI Article on the new law)
What do you call it when a Governor forces a sitting State Representative to file Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) for records, and even after doing that is not given the records he requested? Most would consider it concealment of public records.
State Representative Dwight Kay felt strong enough about the records in question that he actually sued the Department of Health and Family Services, as did I. I won my case in Edgar County Circuit Court, however, we have filed to open the case back up because of concealment of records and we have the evidence to prove it. Representative Kay filed his initial suit for pretty much the same reason as I did, refusal to provide all the records requested. (Click here for HFS Law Suit article)
Now with the new bill that Gov. Quinn just signed into law, Representative Kay sent a zinger of a letter to the Governor's legal counsel demanding the requested records be turned over. He considers any refusal to do so a direct violation of the very bill the Governor signed last week. Contained in the letter is a court transcript from another case that makes it very clear elected officials do not have to FOIA records in the performance of their elected duties, as we have said for years!
It is sad to see that elected officials have to go to this level to obtain public records, and we can only pray this sends the message to the rest of those who continually manipulate FOIA requests and fail to provide what is asked for.
I think with the evidence we have, a substantial case could be made that there is in fact an orchestrated cover-up going on to conceal records that will prove wrong-doing within the Governor's Administration.
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