Illinois lawmakers say they may keep their records secret

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers won’t show taxpayers the appointment calendars or emails of their legislative leaders.

As part of Sunshine Week, The Associated Press sent public-records requests in 50 states to legislative leaders for calendars and emails for the first week of February.

The Illinois Senate responded that the state Constitution grants it immunity from providing those items.
Chicago Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan had no emails or calendars. His spokesman says Madigan uses neither.

The House and Senate Freedom of Information Act officers also invoked exemptions that allow withholding documents that represent preliminary drafts or which would create an “invasion of personal privacy.”

Individual legislators are not “public bodies” under Illinois FOIA. But public-records lawyer Matt Topic says there’s a clear public interest in knowing who is getting access to lawmakers.