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Proviso Probe

Thursday, January 05, 2006

GOV, taking "free" out of "Freedom of Information Act" [MP, BF]

Melrose Park Herald (John Huston) raps the knuckles of Melrose Park for gouging the press and citizens for Freedom of Information Act requests.

The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act is to allow citizens access to government records. Citizens are supposed to only be charged a nominal fee to cover copying. At the federal level the nominal fee is truly nominal.

At the state, county and municipal level the nominal fees have often been set high enough to discourage requests. I oppose the $5 fees many police departments charge. But the $20 and $50 fees charged by Melrose Park are way out-of-line with any reasonable interpretation of the FOIA.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan should provide explicit guidelines about FOIA fees.

The Village of Brookfield recently had a flap about the issue when two VIP party activists accused Clerk Dan Raddatz of overcharging. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues).


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