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It’s time to come clean!

Thursday, Aug 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* While I was on vacation, Center Square published a story about my questions to the governor’s office about the Confederate Railroad stuff. For whatever reason, they decided to FOIA my text conversations. Not all of their requests were granted.

So now Center Square is asking the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor to force disclosure of an off the record exchange between myself and the governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Emily Bittner.

For a self-described news organization to FOIA a reporter’s off the record remarks and then appeal the denial to the attorney general is downright reprehensible.

But in the interest of avoiding any legal fight which could set a precedent, I asked Bittner yesterday if she would lift her off the record restriction so I could publish the exchange here. She consented.

* The great mystery is now solved…

Oh my gosh that’s so fascinating!!! Congratulations, Center Square! I’m totally busted!

* Some other stuff was redacted for whatever reason. I had called Bittner about something else and she didn’t pick up, so I texted her…

Scintillating!

* The Hill mangled both my name and the name of my publication in an article about the controversy

The removal comes after blogger Rich Hill last month asked readers on his site, Capital Fax, whether they thought the band was an appropriate choice to feature in the fair’s lineup.

Bittner sent me the link, which the governor’s office redacted from the FOIA…

Heh.

* And here’s a bit of needling from me about a surprising editorial…

So there you have it. I think that’s everything.

Sheesh.

       

67 Comments
  1. - Chicago Bars - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    Rich Hill is my new favorite MLB lefty pitcher political reporter.


  2. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    I clutched my pearls so hard I hurt my hand.

    Rich- you are so subversive. /s lol


  3. - Fixer - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    The horror, Rich, the horror (planned punctuation). Center Square is reaching for a non story. Guess we all should have seen something like this coming.


  4. - thunderspirit - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    You would think The Miller could at least get your name right, Mr. Hill, since it’s right there on your site.


  5. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    I look forward to Center Square live streaming all conversations between their reporters and anyone else in addition to releasing all texts!


  6. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    Rich Hill, owned by no one. (Except Oscar!)


  7. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    The veil of secrecy lifted… so enlightening.

    This is brave, Rich.


  8. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    They messed up the city’s/fair’s name, too, calling it Do Quoin. Real shoddy.


  9. - Pierogie tirebiter - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    That’s some real deep state, Illuminati, Blackfriars Bridge, skull and bones type skullduggery going on. Glad they were able to expose it to the sunlight!


  10. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    Rich, you may be a scoundrel but your curveball is plus-plus.


  11. - Bertrum Cates - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:55 pm:

    The Hill newspaper fails to properly attribute a story, and Rich Miller causes profanities to be uttered from press bureaus everywhere. More at 11.


  12. - Just Another Anon - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    When you have written communications with government officials about matters of public concern, your communications are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Being “off-record” may mean that an ethical journalist won’t publish them, but it does not mean that they aren’t a public record under Illinois law.


  13. - Montrose - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:58 pm:

    Sounds like someone is jealous of your access to folks in the governor’s office. Maybe they should also use the pseudonym Rich Hill. That could help them.


  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    ===does not mean that they aren’t a public record under Illinois law===

    Right now they are. We’ll see how that goes.


  15. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    Center Square, the Paul Lynde of journalism… they wish.


  16. - OneMan - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    There is a joke here about how you are lucky the redacted the text where you appologize for bumping into the governor’s femur, but I can’t make it work


  17. - Just Another Anon - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    @Rich

    I look forward to the Press Association not killing a FOIA bill which adds exemptions, that would be a first. I also look forward to the public policy implications inherent in your comment. The legislative backflips required ought to be interesting.


  18. - FFS - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    Well, at least we finally know what Rich Hill has been doing to keep busy while on the Dodgers injured list. Good luck in the playoffs


  19. - Rutro - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    Is madigans flack still exempt from foia?


  20. - GOPgal - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    Well played.

    I’ll admit some of your posts annoy me on occasion, but this is an impressive out-flanking and done in a very classy way.


  21. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:19 pm:

    What Center Square didn’t report was the fact on Governor’s Day, Rich was seen riding Secretariat across a grassy knoll on the fairgrounds while waiving to Elvis who was walking with a sasquatch eating a Bob Vose corndog.


  22. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    Maybe mangling your name and the name of the site is revenge for deliberately mangling Medially-Located Parallelogram’s name? /s


  23. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    Did not know you were also mayor of Round Lake Beach, IL on the side. You’re a busy guy.


  24. - Name Withheld - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    And the Hill still hasn’t updated the story with your correct name either.


  25. - lakeside - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    Well, it’s been a good run, Miller. Shame the blog will have to be Decommissioned by The Internet now that this scandal has been exposed.


  26. - correction - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:42 pm:

    welcome to the wonderful world of having random things with no meaning subject to FOIA


  27. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:42 pm:

    “The removal comes after blogger Rich Hill last month asked readers on his site, Capital Fax…”

    They have it right in principal…


  28. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    This new guy Hill is worse than Miller. It’s almost 3:00 and still no QOTD.


  29. - JT - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    How have you slept at night?

    Quite comfortably I’d imagine.


  30. - Jay Kay - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:48 pm:

    Two things jumped out at me:
    1. Isn’t it rude to get out your phone and text when you’re with anyone, especially the Governor?
    2. Adults don’t type “lol” and especially don’t type “lolol”.

    I’m on board with everything else in the story.


  31. - Nick Name - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    Confederaterailroadgate.


  32. - BilboSwaggins - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Noted Chobbit Samhill Ganges was reportedly successful in casting the One Ring into the fires of Mt. Dome upon the failure of his long time friend, Fredo Baggons, failed to live up to the task.


  33. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    ===Adults don’t type “lol” and especially don’t type “lolol”===

    Every adult I know does.


  34. - Nick Name - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:58 pm:

    ===That’s some real deep state, Illuminati, Blackfriars Bridge, skull and bones type skullduggery going on.===

    All these together make it a Jesuit plot.


  35. - Norseman - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    Square for the loss.

    Given the propaganda nature of square, perhaps we should FOIA all communications between square and PIO’s. Then we can see how badly they are distorting what they are given.


  36. - Birdseed - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    So if this is all there is, why did the State redact portions?


  37. - Steve Rogers - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    If a reporter is allegedly covering political news, shouldn’t he/she know the difference between “capital” and “capitol?” Hell, it’s even in your logo.


  38. - BilboSwaggins - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    *So if this is all there is, why did the State redact portions?*

    Because “off the record” isn’t just something people say with a wink and a nudge, and has actual ethical and legal implications.


  39. - Dan McCaleb - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:05 pm:

    Rich, this post isn’t at all accurate. You write: “For a self-described news organization to FOIA a reporter’s off the record remarks and then appeal the denial to the attorney general is downright reprehensible.” We didn’t FOIA your texts with the governor’s communications staff. Our FOIA sought all communications to and from the governor’s office regarding Confederate Railroad. Directly from our records request: “Copies of all correspondence, in any form and including any and all attachments, to and from any employee in the governor’s office in 2019 regarding Confederate Railroad.” Your texts happened to be included in the public records returned to us. We appealed the redactions. And while trying to demean our organization’s journalistic credibility, you fail to disclose your questionable conduct in sharing with the governor’s office the email exchange you had with the southern Illinois newspaper editor. Your forwarded email also discovered by our FOIA was not to ask for a response from the governor’s office but just included “FYI” and “LOL” as if you meant to demean the editor.


  40. - Birdseed - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:05 pm:

    So if I say “off the record” then you can’t FOIA that information?


  41. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    === you fail to disclose your questionable conduct in sharing with the governor’s office the email exchange you had with the southern Illinois newspaper editor===

    You already wrote about it. And the editor had no problem with it. And if you send me an email and don’t declare it’s off the record then it’s fair game.


  42. - BilboSwaggins - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    Clearly you can but you weren’t asking about whether you could FOIA it. You were asking why the state would redact it. Something off the record is generally not official, and often irrelevant.


  43. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:09 pm:

    ===Your texts happened to be included in the public records returned to us. We appealed the redactions.===

    Exactly. You appealed all the redactions including those that were labeled off the record. Nice spin.


  44. - Monadnock Pigeon - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:09 pm:

    ==Medially-Located Parallelogram==

    I lol’d (does that mean I’m not an adult any more?), Skeptic FTW (banned punctuation)


  45. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:10 pm:

    ===And while trying to demean our organization’s journalistic credibility===

    You’re doing fine on your own.


  46. - BilboSwaggins - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:12 pm:

    *You’re doing fine on your own.*

    Murder is still illegal, Rich.


  47. - Birdseed - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:12 pm:

    “For whatever reason, they decided to FOIA my text conversations.”

    So they really didn’t FOIA your text conversations?


  48. - JIbba - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:20 pm:

    ==as if you meant to demean the editor.===

    Captain Obvious.


  49. - Try-4-Truth - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    ==== - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:10 pm:

    ===And while trying to demean our organization’s journalistic credibility===

    You’re doing fine on your own.=====

    LOL


  50. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    ===as if you meant to demean the editor===

    Yeah, the guy who told me he had multiple sources claiming that I was responsible for the cancellation and then it turned out he had one source who he described as a “paid” state employee, as if there was any other kind.


  51. - ILPundit - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:39 pm:

    You being referred to as Rich Hill brought the theme from the Benny Hill show to mind


  52. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    lol


  53. - Honeybear - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 4:04 pm:

    McCaleb is just salty because you are relevant and Center Square/IPI is not.
    You have influence and they….well….influence the whackadoos. lol


  54. - the Patriot - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    Dear Center Square, I would greatly appreciate it if, after you are finished examining Oscar’s poop under a microscope, you could get to real aspects of this story. Likke maybe the reason Southern Illinoisians are irritated with the Governor is he spent more time and energy discussing a concert than he has the longest flood in the 200 year history of this state.


  55. - Name Withheld - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    ===“FYI” and “LOL” as if you meant to demean the editor.===

    Wow - you read far more into that exchange than I did, and I’m reading this “scoop” for the first time here.

    “Rich Hill - if that’s your real name - why are you lolol’ing the editor?!?!? Answer the question, Mr. Hill!!!”

    “you fail to disclose your questionable conduct…” Geez Rich - I bet you also tear off mattress tags and wear white after Labor Day. You sicken me, Mr. Hill, with your flagrant disregard for mattresses and questionable sartorial attire. Good Day sir. I said Good Day.

    See - even that’s not demeaning. Mocking, maybe. Not demeaning.


  56. - anon - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 4:14 pm:

    Rich, are you trying to argue that there is an exception to FOIA for government communications that are stated as off-the-record? Or are you suggesting that there should be one?


  57. - Legal Beagle - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 4:27 pm:

    I’m not certain that saying “off the record” is a recognized exception to FOIA.


  58. - Demoralized - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 5:33 pm:

    Mr McCaleb

    To demean your credibility we would need to assume you had any to begin with. You don’t. So there’s nothing to demean


  59. - Hmm? - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 5:47 pm:

    So was there any actual complaint about the band from anyone other than Capitol Fax Blog moderator and commenters?


  60. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 5:54 pm:

    ===So was there any actual complaint about the band from anyone other than Capitol Fax Blog moderator and commenters? ===

    Um, yeah, doofus. The governor. And I didn’t complain. I asked commenters what they thought. They were fairly split at the time.


  61. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 6:05 pm:

    ==Likke maybe the reason Southern Illinoisians are irritated with the Governor is he spent more time and energy discussing a concert than he has the longest flood in the 200 year history of this state.==
    Well the Guv is trying to get some money for that flooding so I guess he can walk and chew gum at the same time. https://www.galesburg.com/news/20190829/pritzker-files-federal-disaster-request-for-69m-in-flood-damages


  62. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 6:07 pm:

    ===And while trying to demean our organization’s journalistic credibility,

    It’s so cute they think they have any credibility.

    ====. I asked commenters what they thought. They were fairly split at the time.

    I don’t remember if I replied at the time, but my initial reaction was that if a contract was signed let it go and don’t do it again and I’m generally fairly extreme on Confederate nonsense.


  63. - Amalia - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 6:41 pm:

    Oh, the hilarity.


  64. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 7:05 pm:

    “And while trying to demean our organization’s journalistic credibility”

    You can’t slander the dead and you can’t demean a fiction.

    – MrJM


  65. - Lt. Guv - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 8:13 pm:

    Their Mothers are so proud.


  66. - Rich Hill - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 8:36 pm:

    To be fair, I am left-winged.


  67. - Fixer - Friday, Aug 30, 19 @ 6:57 am:

    Dan, when you guys stop taking checks from hacks like Tillman, then you can talk to us about integrity and credibility. Until then, you and your ilk will remain a joke.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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