What to do if your FOIA request is denied
What must the public body include in a denial? The denial must be in writing, and reference a specific legal reason under FOIA to justify the non-disclosure. A public body has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the information is exempt from disclosure. The denial must also inform the requestor of the right to seek review of the issue by the Public Access Counselor (PAC) in the Attorney General’s office, with the PAC’s contact information, as well as the right to seek judicial review by filing a court case.
How to file a request for review with the Public Access Counselor (PAC)
A Request for Review is a letter that a requestor may submit to the PAC if they believe that the public body has not followed FOIA. This letter is a formal way of asking the PAC to take a look at the request and the public body’s response (or lack thereof) and determine if a FOIA violation has occurred. The request must be in writing, must be signed by the requestor, and must include a copy of the FOIA request for access to records and any responses from the public body. It must be submitted within 60 calendar days of the public body’s final response (or date upon which the response was due).
Is there a deadline for submitting a request for review?
Yes. The requestor must submit a Request for Review to the PAC within 60 calendar days after the date of the final denial from the public body (or the date upon which the response was due).
How do I contact the Public Access Counselor in the Attorney General’s Office?
The Public Access Counselor is a part of the Public Access Bureau in the Attorney General’s Office. Here is the contact information:
Public Access Bureau
500 S. 2nd St.
Springfield, Illinois 62706
Email the Public Access Bureau