Press Release from September 9, 2019

GJC Sues Public Campaign Finance Commission for Records                                    

The Government Justice Center (GJC), a non-partisan legal center founded to protect taxpayers from improper government action, today filed a case against the New York State Public Campaign Finance Commission for not abiding by the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).  

The Public Campaign Finance Commission was created to re-write the Election Law, a matter of significant public interest. Accordingly, the Government Justice Center submitted a FOIL request to the Commission, requesting materials introduced at the Commission’s first official meeting and related communications regarding those documents. The request was submitted to Jay Jacobs, a Commission member and self-appointed chair of the first meeting. Mr. Jacobs has not provided the requested records and has not given the Government Justice Center an appropriate reason for this delay or a date when they will be disclosed.

The Government Justice Center also inquired as to why the Commission has not yet appointed a records access officer, as required by Freedom of Information Law.

“The Public Campaign Finance Commission is not taking any of its obligations under Freedom of Information Law seriously. This was made abundantly clear when the meeting was streamed using a cellphone camera and the video was sideways and blurry for most of the recording. The public has a right to know what the Commission is up to, especially since the members are not accountable to voters like our elected officials are,” said Cam Macdonald, executive director of the Government Justice Center.

The Government Justice Center is requesting the release of the records and documents already requested and the awarding of attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in this litigation.

The Government Justice Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit legal center that provides pro-bono representation and legal services to protect the rights of New Yorkers in the face of improper action by state or local governments. Taxpayers can request the GJC’s assistance here.

You can read the petition here and the exhibits here.