National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Illinois governor cites ‘preliminary drafts’ exemption in FOIA denials


SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Pat Quinn and his staff may tell you about the sausage that is Illinois policy, but they aren’t quite as open about the sausage-making process, according to a review of public records requests by Illinois Watchdog.
Quinn’s office cited the “preliminary drafts” exemption to Illinois‘ open records law in one out of four Freedom of Information requests between April and July, enabling it to withhold documents that could shed light on a range of high-profile policy decisions.
Quinn’s office may be using the exemption as it was intended, said Springfield attorney Don Craven, who specializes in open government matters. The problem, however, is that the broad exemption leaves taxpayers in the dark about the decision-making process. Illinoisans have no clue what factors were or were not considered in any given policy decision.