[at-l] FOIA

Tom McGinnis sloetoe at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 17 06:19:38 CST 2012

League of Women Voters --
Cato Institute-affiliated Libertarian organizations --
come to mind.
Oh, and a citizens'/consumer group's lawyer.

Here's the opening section of the Indiana Public Records law -- wonderfully worded, however as various pieces are addressed in actual operations, the agencies' attitude has tended to be, "Oh Yeah? We'll just see about that!" And then EVERYTHING goes under whatever confidentiality shield can POSSIBLY fit.

I was my agency's go-to man for fighting utilities that wished to broad-brush data that they submitted to us to proprietary/confidentiality restrictions to public disclosure. (This was a big deal because in Indiana, some of the greatest victories for energy consumers have come from industrial and/or residential consumer groups, and NOT from my own agency. So if I *really* wanted the public to be well-represented in the courts, I had to make sure they had access to all the same data.) Eventually, as my own agency sought prophylactic protection by hiding under a broader and broader umbrella of procedure and forms and process and release restrictions and hoo-hah[!].... eventually, my agency pulled the plug on objections to utilities' confidentiality requests -- my long-standing testimony (and office policy) got unplugged.  (Anybody follow Indiana utilities (esp. "Duke") since 2006? Total disaster.)

In any event, I have no doubt that *one* of your "enemies* could in fact be the agency charged by statute with *helping* you and the democratic process. A sad joke.

So! Think about a consumer group, too. Here in Indiana, the gadfly is the Citizens' Action Coalition. Obnoxious. WONDERFUL. But make their job easier:

Don't hesitate to utilize the Indiana statute's *democracy-protecting* role of free information idea, the *affirmative duty to provide* for bureaucracies' employees idea, in your own discussions with whomever you seek help. Find the NY version -- it should be very much the same.

Go Forth!

--- On Sun, 12/16/12, JPL <jplynch at crosslink.net> wrote:
I’m having a little trouble getting some information out of my local county 
offices.  Is there an organization that deals with FOIA lawsuits on a pro 
bono basis?thx
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