National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Colorado FOIC – A $6,750 deposit to search the city clerk’s emails? Records retention an issue for small governments

Emails of public officials are open for inspection under the Colorado Open Records Act, depending on their content. Such messages can reveal important insights into how government decisions are made, but using CORA to obtain emails can be a frustrating and sometimes futile exercise because records-retention policies tend to be vague and discretionary.

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Chicago: BGA, others force Emanuel to release work-related private emails

Following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filing and lawsuits, Illinois’ Better Government Association (BGA) recently succeeded in forcing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to release private emails that pertain to city business.

BGA effected a policy change through Cook County court rulings that public officials’ private emails are covered under FOIA.

After a legal tussle lasting over a year that included a lawsuit filed by the Chicago Tribune, the BGA expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

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Emails Released by Mayor de Blasio’s Office Detail Reliance on Outside ‘Agents’

After months of wrangling with reporters and in court over the disclosure of emails, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday released a third batch of its correspondence with outside advisers that it has designated as “agents of the city.”

The emails, released in response to a Freedom of Information Law request, totaled more than 1,550 pages and date to the first days of Mr. de Blasio’s tenure, in early 2014, through April 2015.

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Arkansas Prosecutor: Fort Smith School Board violated Freedom of Information Act

The Fort Smith School Board has been found in violation of the Freedom of Information Act for a thread of emails among board members that discussed the new slate of officers prior to elections.

Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Shue issued a letter to the school board members Nov. 8 stating “after careful review of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and the relevant law, I believe that a violation of the Freedom of Information Act has occurred.”

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MU professor, AG candidate argues his emails are not public record

An MU law professor and candidate for Missouri's attorney general pushed back against a lawsuit filed against him over an open records request.

Josh Hawley won the Republican nomination for the spot earlier this month, amidst a contentious race against state Sen. Kurt Schaefer by more than 30 points. He will face former Cass County prosecutor Teresa Hensley in the November primary. Continue…

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Two recent court decisions make climate scientists’ e-mails public

In the past, we’ve covered attempts by some political groups (or politicians) to access climate scientists’ e-mails. The idea is generally to trawl through them for anything that can be used to bolster the claim that climate science is somehow fraudulent—hypothetically vindicating those who have refused to acknowledge the scientific consensus for decades.

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CFOIC’s Jeff Roberts: Is Lakewood city councilor’s email a ‘documented’ Sunshine Law violation?

Colorado’s Sunshine Law is supposed to prevent more than two members of a local public body, such as a city council, from exchanging thoughts outside of a public meeting on matters related to their jobs as policymakers.

But Lakewood City Council members appear to be doing just that in a recent email provided to the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.  Continue…

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Court rules public business on prosecutor’s private phone is still public

Call records and text messages from Pierce County (WA) Prosecutor Mark Lindquist’s personal mobile phone aren’t private if they’re related to public business.

The idea drives a unanimous ruling issued Tuesday by the Washington State Court of Appeals. “That such government-business-related text messages were contained on a personal cellular phone is irrelevant,” states the ruling, authored by Judge J. Robin Hunt.

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DC Court Rules Officials Must Turn Over Personal Emails In FOIA Requests

The D.C. Superior Court has ruled that city officials engaging in business on personal email accounts to circumvent government transparency must surrender those emails in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

According to The Washington City Paper, D.C. residents suspicious over Commissioner Dianne Barnes’ support for the McMillan Sand Filtration site in Ward 5 wanted a closer look at Barnes’ communications, and filed multiple FOIA requests to do so.

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