In Chicago Tribune v. The College of DuPage and The College of DuPage Foundation, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District issued a unanimous decision ordering a public college’s fundraising organization to release records in its possession pursuant to a state Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA,” a.k.a. “sunshine law”) request. The Court in this case held that the College’s separately incorporated foundation conducts government business on its behalf and therefore is subject to the Illinois FOIA laws.
This case is significant for public schools because it is bringing the interpretation of Illinois’ FOIA law in line with many other states whose FOIA laws either clearly extend to related entities like foundations or have been interpreted by the courts to clearly apply to such entities. In light of this decision, public schools across all states should reexamine the reach of their state’s FOIA laws to entities that perform government functions on their behalf, such as foundations. For a more in depth examination of the law see the full blog post on Husch Blackwell’s Higher Education Legal Insights Blog.