AP finds AG’s office has failed to respond to thousands of FOIA disputes

CHICAGO (AP) — The Associated Press has found that the attorney general’s office has yet to respond to 2,800 appeals for help in Illinois public-records disputes – with hundreds dating to 2011 and 2012.
 
The backlog means those barred from reviewing government actions have waited years with no response.
 
Sen. Kwame Raoul pushed for creation of the appeal process following the scandals that led to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s imprisonment. The Chicago Democrat says the backlog defeats the purpose.
 
Records show the office has fielded nearly 15,000 disputes. Fourth-fifths came from citizens rather than journalists.
 
The attorney general’s staff acknowledges the backlog, but notes a majority of appeals were settled. It is interviewing to hire five lawyers but won’t ask for more because of the state’s fiscal crisis.