WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Shop Talk - March 27

Mar 27, 2012

The panelists discuss legislation in Illinois (SB 3773) requiring charities that receive state money to follow the state's Freedom of Information Act.

Financial statements and e-mails are among the items that would be subject to FOIA requests. Not-for-profits feel the plan would create confusion and burden organizations with extra work. In addition, they point out they are private entities.

The panelists disagree. They feel FOIA should apply to expenditures public money.

"Many not-for-profits have contracts with the State of Illinois and get public money, and I think it's legitimate to track the public money," Knight said.

He said revenue from other sources could remain private.

Panelist Mike Murray said most people probably won't seek the information but he also believes it should be made public.

"In the interest of full disclosure it might be a nice thing if not-for-profits would make that information easily available to the public," Murray said.

The panelists also point out some not-for-profits take in millions of dollars.