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Blago Loses Battle Over Subpeonas

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 20, 2008 10:10PM

Governor Blagojevich suffered a setback today as the Fourth District Illinois Appellate Court ruled in favor of releasing to the public federal subpoenas his administration has received. The Better Government Association sued the Governor to release the documents under the state of Illinois' Freedom of Information Act claiming they wanted to see how extensive the corruption investigation of Blagojevich has become.


In the ruling, Justice Robert J. Steigmann wrote:

The governor was served with subpoenas in his official capacity as the governor of Illinois. As such, the FOIA applies, thus mandating ‘full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials'...Thus, unlike for a private citizen, the FOIA eliminates any discretion the governor, acting in his official capacity as governor for the state of Illinois, has in keeping the subpoenas secret.
While Blagojevich sent the court a letter from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office suggesting only two of the subpoenas be released, federal investigators never made an objection to the BGA's case. Blago's people haven't said if they'll appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, but spokesman Lucio Guererro said, “As you know, we were honoring the U.S. attorney's request to not release the documents. With this decision, we will consult with the U.S. attorney on what to do next.” For their part, the BGA was thrilled. Said executive director Jay Stewart, “This is a complete victory for us and the citizens of Illinois. It’s a complete victory for transparency in government. Does the governor want to be on the side of secrecy and shadows and pointless litigation? My hope is the governor stops squandering taxpayer dollars on this litigation, comes to his senses and releases the subpoenas.” Jeez, Jay. I mean, good for you and all, but man. Ever hear of winning graciously?

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green