You have the right to seek a review from the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) OR you can file a lawsuit in Circuit Court.
The Illinois Public Access Counselor can
- Help mediate disputes over FOIA and OMA
- Issue advisory opinions to resolve disputes
- Issue binding opinions and enforce them by filing a lawsuit, if necessary
The PAC also conducts FOIA and OMA training for government officials and maintains a public hotline, 1-877-299-FOIA.
You have 60 calendar days to ask for a PAC review If you believe a public body has violated OMA or improperly denied your FOIA request.
To contact the Public Access Counselor
Instructions for requesting a review can be found here.
Mail: 500 S. Second Street, Springfield IL 62706
There is no charge for a PAC review, but it has its limitations. (See Illinois Law Hasn’t Stopped Public Agencies from Withholding Records.)
The office doesn’t have the resources to keep up with its caseload or the authority to impose penalties. Public bodies that willfully disregard FOIA and OMA tend to disregard the PAC, too — with few consequences.
If the PAC isn’t able to resolve your problem, you can still sue. Or you can skip the PAC and go directly to court.