Public Access Opinion 17-008

Failure to Respond to a FOIA Request

Freedom of Information Act - FOIA
Case: Public Access Opinion 17-008
Date: Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Office of the Governor (Governor’s Office) violated FOIA by failing to comply with, deny in whole or in part, or otherwise appropriately respond to a FOIA request. On March 10, 2017, an individual submitted a request via email for documents concerning “emails that Deputy Governor Leslie Munger sent or received since she became Deputy Governor; and Munger’s daily schedule for the next six months.” Ten days later, the requestor sent a follow-up email stating she had not received a response to her FOIA. Continuing to receive no response, the requestor sent six emails between April 18, 2017 and May 4, 2017 inquiring about her FOIA request. On May 5, 2017, the requestor still had not received a response from the Governor’s Office and requested the PAC review the matter. The PAC forwarded the Request for Review to the Governor’s Office twice but, as of the date of this binding opinion, had not received a response.

The PAC found that the Governor’s Office violated Section 3(d) of FOIA by failing to appropriately respond to a FOIA request. The PAC ordered the Governor’s Office to immediately provide all records in response to the FOIA requestor, subject only to any permissible redactions under Section 7. Again, the bottom line here is that public bodies must respond to FOIA requests within the time permitted per statute.

This opinion is binding only to the parties involved and may be appealed pursuant to State law.