BGA Goes After Information from Taxpayer Financed Not-for-Profits

Way back in the 1970’s I introduced a bill that would have allowed the Freedom of Information Act to apply to non-profit organizations that received the majority of their funding from tax money.

The Daily Herald thought it was a good enough idea to run a cartoon of me lifting up a covering of non-profits.

In any event, the Better Government Association now has a case before the Illinois Supreme Court involving its attempt to gain information now kept private by the Illinois High School Association.

Illinois Supreme Court Building

According to the BGA,
“The BGA lawsuit against the IHSA, initially filed in July 2014, argues that the Bloomington-based organization effectively serves as a subsidiary of government by administering sports competition for more than 800 schools across the state.”

Lower court decisions have gone against the BGA.

To prevail, the BGA needs to convince the seven-member panel that the IHSA qualifies as a “subsidiary” of a government body and that, in regulating sports for the state’s high schools, it is performing a “governmental function.” the BGA explains.

The case is the first major test of Illinois’ FOIA rules regarding ‘subsidiary bodies’ with which a government entity ‘has contracted to perform a governmental function,’” the BGA notes.

“McPier (which is facing a similar suit from the BGA) says the ‘subsidiary’ definition should apply in cases in which government has transferred traditional government duties – like policing – to a private agency. ‘But the analysis is different when the functions in question have never been performed by a governmental entity (as is the case with the IHSA) or where the functions themselves are commercial or proprietary, rather than governmental,”’McPier and Navy Pier write in their brief.” according to the BGA article.

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