Searchable Index Of Binding Opinions From Illinois Access Counselor

Posted October 10, 2020 by Bill Wheelhouse

Our Tip Of The Week can help reporters at all levels.

The Citizen Advocacy Center (CAC) has created a PAC Determination Letter Index.  Determination Letters are issued by the Public Access Counselor’s Office to resolve complaints about alleged violations of FOIA and OMA by government bodies that are filed by members of the public and the media. While the PAC’s office has received thousands of complaints, it posts only its binding opinions for public availability on its website.  

Determination letters have tremendous value because the legal analysis for determination letters and binding opinions is substantively identical; thus they reveal how the Attorney General’s Office interprets open government statutes. Prior to this index, to access a determination letter, an individual would need to know what she/he is looking for and submit a FOIA request to the Attorney General’s Office.  

This index is an important tool that can assist citizens in seeking positive outcomes for social justice.

CAC has thus far received over 1,000 determination letters from the PAC’s office. Those letters that have been analyzed can be perused in this easily searchable index, which will be updated on an ongoing basis as additional letters are analyzed.