Transparency Advocates Sue Illinois Comptroller

Tracking our own FOIA debacles almost caused us to miss big transparency news in Illinois–a suit brought against Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka a week and a half ago over the office’s failure to produce the state’s checkbook under a valid FOIA request.

Transparency advocates over at For the Good of Illinois (founded by activist and one-time gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski) filed suit after nine months spent waiting for Baar Topinka to respond to the request they claim is valid under FOIA.

From Suburban Life Media:

The comptrollers’ rejection asserted “review, redaction and arrangement of all 2011 vendor payments would take multiple staff members, dedicated solely to this request, more than three days to complete.” Topinka concluded that fulfilling the request was an “undue burden.”

“If the comptroller can succeed in denying access to public information with such a feeble reason, then there really isn’t a Freedom of Information Act in Illinois,” Andrzejewski said.

The nonprofit is tracking the status of the suit on its website, where it includes a statement from founder and CEO Andrzejewski:

Andrzejewski, CEO nonprofit For the Good of Illinois, Inc states, “Our lawsuit is the result of the states’ top financial officer refusing to show citizens where taxpayer money is spent and the states’ top law enforcement officer refusing to do anything about it.”

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