* Background is here. From One Illinois…
The governor is suing the state attorney general and One Illinois to withhold emails on government appointments from the public.
Although he lost his re-election bid Nov. 6, Gov. Bruce Rauner filed suit a week later to fight a binding opinion issued by Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office that 1,783 emails should be released to One Illinois in a Freedom of Information Act case.
The move was unexpected — at least by One Illinois — in that Rauner could have simply ignored the binding opinion issued by the attorney general’s public access counselor and forced One Illinois to file suit to compel enforcement. Instead, he took the initiative in filing — and in spending government money and resources to keep the emails from the public.
According to legal experts, suits against binding opinions in FOIA cases are likely losers, as the public access counselor has already examined and ruled on the issues. Madigan’s office will handle the litigation and press for release of the emails.
If the suit’s not decided by the time Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is inaugurated Jan. 14, control of it would pass to his administration and he could simply move to release the emails. The Rauner administration would violate several laws if it tried to destroy the emails before he left office. Professor Emeritus Kent Redfield of the University of Illinois at Springfield speculated that Rauner could seek a restraining order that would extend beyond his term in office, but such rulings are rarely granted in these cases.
*** UPDATE *** From the governor’s office…
We’re not suing the AG, we can’t just ignore the opinion.
We’re appealing a binding decision made by the Public Access Counselor.