Lawsuit Filed against IL Comptroller’s Office
4 months ago by Bryan Nichols
Adam Andrzejewski says office rejected FOIA request for state checkbook details
Transparency activist and one- time gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski asked State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to open her books and she said no. That’s what Andrzejewski claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. He says the Comptroller is refusing to release the information contained in the state checkbook.
“We simply asked the Comptroller to provide one year of the state’s checkbook to us and she rejected the request,” Andrzejewski said.
Andrzejewski filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request for the information nine months ago.
“She said that multiple employees in her office would have to work three days on the request and that would cause an undue burden on her office.”
Topinka’s office employs 305 people and has a payroll of $14.5 million.
Andrzejewski, of For the Good of Illinois, said they finally filed the lawsuit because Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office stopped communicating with them.
“We filed with the Attorney General’s office and asked for her help as the Public Access Counselor. They said we had a good case, opened up the case…after a few perfunctory emails and phone calls, we heard nothing for five months. That’s why we had to file this lawsuit.”
Andrzejewski has filed thousands of similar FOIA requests with various levels of government throughout the state of Illinois. That info then goes on his website, OpentheBooks.com.
He said this is the first time a request has been rejected.
“We’ve gotten a lot of help from all levels of Illinois government when we started this process 18 months ago. We filed thousands of requests-Illinois has 7000 units of government-she’s the only one to reject it.”
Andrzejewski said he thinks the Comptroller’s office will continue to fight him on the issue because of “untoward” spending.
“Trust is shattered in the state and Comptroller Topinka needs to get her act together as the state’s top financial officer and obey the law. The state’s top law enforcement officer needs to enforce the laws as well,” Andrzejewski said.
“This is the number one foundational financial issue in the state. We need to see the spending or we don’t trust any of the solutions whether it’s on pensions or budgets or anything else.”
Andrzejewski made his comments Wednesday on The Morning Meeting on WTAD.
Andrzejewski is CEO of For the Good of Illinois. He is also considered to be a likely gubernatorial candidate in 2014. He said he is “clearly interested in the race in 2014.”
You can listen to the full interview here.