Editor’s Note: Right, left join forces over FOIA

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Miracles do happen. Two Michigan institutions on opposites sides of the political spectrum recently found some common ground.

The conservative leaning Mackinac Center for Public Policy filed a lawsuit last week against the Michigan Liquor Control Commission over ridiculous fees the agency charged for a freedom of information request.

The liberal advocacy group Michigan Progress sent out a press release supporting the Mackinac Center.

“Though we disagree with the Mackinac Center on just about every major issue, we find common ground in exposing Michigan’s broken FOIA laws,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, in a statement.

The two groups are joining forces over a worthy cause. FOIA laws are meant to keep the government open and accessible to its citizens. And this agency’s actions seem very contrary to that mission. The Liquor Control Commission requested $1,550 for copying spreadsheet data that already existed onto a flash drive, according to the Mackinac Center’s legal team.

As Derk Wilcox, senior attorney for the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, said: “When government entities adopt these kinds of policies that are far in excess of the law, it becomes obvious they are designed to put up roadblocks to the public’s access to information.”