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Governor loses records battle over subpoenas

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  1. Freedom of Information
The governor of Illinois must turn over federal subpoenas to requesters, an appeals court ruled Thursday. Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration…

The governor of Illinois must turn over federal subpoenas to requesters, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration is under federal investigation, and several indictments have been handed down against those close to him. A watchdog group, the Better Government Association, sought copies of subpoenas sent to Blagojevich under the state open records law.

A state appellate court granted the requesters access to the records after deciding a federal rule that normally protects grand jury information did not apply in this case.

The U.S. Attorney’s office had said in a letter that releasing the records could be detrimental to the investigation. But the court did not defer to the office, finding the letter was insufficient to show the federal government opposed the release.

The court wrote, "We are not surprised that governmental entities, including the United States attorney, generally prefer not to reveal their activities to the public. If this were not a truism, no FOIA would be needed."