CHICAGO
05/15/2013 11:48 am ET

Mayor Emanuel's FOIA Policy: Don't Ask Because We Won't Tell

AP

As we approach the midpoint of Mayor Emanuel's first term, I think I've discovered one of his greatest legacies to Chicago, right up there with dismantling public education and making Mayor Daley's god-awful parking meter deal even worse.

The mayor is also undermining the Freedom of Information Act, so that it's next to impossible for ordinary citizens to secure information showing how the government reaches decisions that affect their lives. The mayor and other officials are then free to do pretty much anything they want without fear of scrutiny.

Getting around the FOIA isn't as easy as it looks. The law requires that public officials share records generated by public bodies. In fact, transparency is one of those good-government principles that almost all elected officials feel compelled to endorse, even if it's the last thing they actually want to do.

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