Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Library Censorship: Excessively Redacted Legal Bills in FOIA Response

Excessively redacted legal bills from public
entity defending access to child porn.
The Orland Park Public Library [OPPL] has been found by the Illinois Attorney General [AG] to have excessively redacted legal bills obtained via Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] request.  It basically blacked out any useful information to which the public is entitled under FOIA laws.  A portion of an excessively redacted bill is shown at right.

OPPL must to respond to the AG with "un-redacted copies of the records responsive to Mr. Kleinman's FOIA request, as well as any additional legal or factual basis for the assertion of [claimed FOIA exceptions]" if it wishes to reverse this finding:

This started in a library that has for years allowed child pornography and has for almost a year thwarted efforts to stem the illegality.  The library has for half a year blocked me from saying Illinois library law precludes all libraries throughout Illinois from allowing Internet porn.  Here is the latest example:

I am investigating the library for ties to the American Library Association [ALA] that is the nation's top facilitator of porn in libraries nationwide ( tinyurl.com/DirtyDozenALA ).   One of my investigative activities including asking the library for legal bills.  After all, OPPL's lawyers at Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, Ltd, Chicago, IL, and Orland Park, IL, have charged almost $100,000 for thwarting efforts to stop the library from serving child pornography.  So those bills likely contain revealing information.

Here is my request for the legal bills, the library's response including the excessively redacted legal bills, and a polite conversation I have with the library's FOIA Officer Scott Remmenga as I try very hard to avoid having to seek intervention from the AG:

If FOIA stands for the public having access to the records of a public entity, and if that entity excessively redacts FOIA responses making the records essentially devoid of information, is that not government censorship?  Isn't it particularly egregious/ironic in the case of a public library claiming it would be censorship to keep people from accessing "constitutionally protected material" on public library computers despite the law saying the opposite?

On Twitter:  @ECWDogs @ILAttyGeneral @IntolerantFox @OIF @OrlandPkLibrary @VillageOrlandPk

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