FOIA Advisor

Q&As: Simply yes or no

Q&A (2017)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.  Is information compiled by the "FARM SERVICE AGENCY (FSA)" of the United States Department of Agriculture available to the public through the FOIA?

A.  Yes.  Records controlled by the FAS are subject to FOIA.  Here is the agency's electronic request form.


Q.   Can I file a FOIA [in Virginia] to obtain records from a Property Management LLC?

A.   No.  The state statute does not apply to such private companies. 


Q.   If you are not a taxpayer of a government body [in Illinois], can you still ask for minutes and financials reports from a government body?

A.   Yes.  Anyone may submit a request for records maintained by a state or local agency in Illinois; residency is irrelevant.   A few States do have residency requirements -- for example, Tennessee, Virginia, Delaware, Alabama, and Arkansas -- but not Illinois.     


Q.  Can I make a Freedom of Information request to a non-profit organization [in Massachusetts] if they failed to provide a resolution to my complaint against my boss? The investigation is over, but I would like copies of the complete investigation because they did not give me any resolution and it's been since November 2016.

A.  No.  Freedom of information laws generally apply to governmental entities, not private entities like non-profit organizations.  For further information about the Massachusetts Public Records Law, here is guidance published by the Attorney General of Massachusetts.


Q.   If I request a calendar of a public official [in Illinois], am I entitled to the entire calendar or is the official allowed to redact the information in the calendar before releasing the information?

A.   Yes, the calendar of an elected state official may be redacted if a statutory exemption applies.  For further information, you may wish to browse the FOIA website of the Illinois Attorney General.