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Last Editedkarin1492  Jan 12, 2007 11:03am
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News DateFriday, January 12, 2007 04:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionLawsuit could deepen Madigan-Blagojevich rift

The Better Government Association filed a lawsuit last week that could create lots of fireworks. The BGA wants to force Gov. Rod Blagojevich to release federal grand-jury subpoenas his administration has been served with between January and July of last year.

The BGA initially filed a Freedom of Information Act request last year to pry loose the subpoenas. The Blagojevich administration had made it standard practice to disclose subpoenas until the feds started nosing around the governor’s office itself, about a year ago; then all cooperation stopped.
The administration claimed last week that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office has “asked us not to discuss or share information about their work, and we’ve honored that request.” The governor’s lawyers have also claimed to the BGA and other media outlets that state law does not require the subpoenas to be released to the public.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office strongly disagreed with the governor’s point about federal subpoenas’ being exempt from Freedom of Information Act requirements. The office issued a strongly worded opinion last fall that argued that the governor must disclose the subpoenas.

. . .

Here is where it gets really interesting, though. Madigan will reportedly not be joining the BGA’s lawsuit. Instead, Madigan will likely represent the governor’s office in the case.

Madigan is, per the Illinois Constitution, the state’s chief legal officer, and she therefore has the sole authority to represent any state official or office sued in an official capacity. The governor’s office can request that the AG appoint a special attorney general to handle this case, but Madigan will reportedly resist.

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