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August 10, 2022

Madison County Ignored AG’s Inquiry; Violated FOIA –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On May 11, 2022

Madison Co., IL. (ECWd) –

The Illinois Attorney General has issued an opinion which states that the Madison County FOIA Officer violated the Freedom of Information Act by not conducting a proper search for certain emails requested under the Act.

In the opinion, the AG states:

  • the Public Access Bureau concludes that Madison County (County) has not sustained its burden of demonstrating that it conducted a reasonable search for the records requested by Ms. Kotomi Matsuda Dorman
  • (On April 12, 2022) This office also asked the County to include in its response a detailed description of the measures taken to search for the records Ms. Dorman sought in her FOIA request and an explanation of whether the County searched the e-mail account [email protected] for responsive records. The County did not respond
  • On April 22, 2022, this office sent an additional letter to the County seeking the same information. The County did not respond
  • It is undisputed that the County did not cooperate with the Public Access Bureau as expressly required by section 9.5(c) of FOIA. Moreover, because the County has not cooperated with this office’s review of this matter, it has failed to sustain its burden of demonstrating that it conducted a reasonable search for the records Ms. Dorman requested
  • this office requests that the County take immediate and appropriate action to search for the records . . . (and provide requester with any applicable records within 7 days – or a written explanation of their search for the records)

This appears to be the perfect situation for the AG to exercise their right to issue a subpoena for the requested records (see Section 9.5(c) of the Act), but we have yet to find any instance where the AG exercised their statutory right to issue a subpoena to people or public bodies who fail to comply with the Act.

Madison County 70085 f 3a search improper co_Redacted

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