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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Purpose of FOIA Request Not Basis for Denial

The PAC just issued its 14th opinion for 2017, finding a public body in violation of FOIA. PAC Op. 17-014

A local reporter had filed a FOIA request with a county seeking copies of all FOIA requests filed with the county in the past 8 weeks. The county denied the request on the basis that the request did not meet the purpose and intent of FOIA. The requester appealed to the PAC. In its defense, the county argued that the requester was attempting to use FOIA to obtain information about her fellow citizens and neighbors, and that FOIA was not intended to provide citizens with information about other citizens seeking access to government information.

The PAC disagreed with the county's argument, finding no provision in FOIA that allows a public body to deny a request based on what it believes the underlying purpose of the request to be. As a result, the county was ordered to provide copies of the FOIA requests with only those redactions authorized by express FOIA exemptions.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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