Concern raised over city’s demands for FOIA requesters

Local News

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — A man in Paris is concerned about how the City of Urbana is handling information requests. He says they’re asking for photo ID’s when they shouldn’t.

John Kraft investigates issues through central Illinois as part of the Edgar County Watchdogs group. He was listening to an Urbana city meeting when he got curious. He heard city leaders talking about Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and their concerns with people who request information too often. They call them “recurrent requesters”. To handle that, they discussed asking for government-issued photo ID’s. Kraft said it’s illegal for them to do that.

“In my opinion, they’re spending way too much time trying to figure out who’s requesting the information. They could spend their time and money better just by providing the information,” Kraft explained.

Kraft also feels they shouldn’t be able to ask for postage, which he believes they are. He submitted his own FOIA request, asking for all instances where the city asked for the identity of FOIA requesters. He got an email back from Urbana’s city attorney saying they needed his government-issued ID or they would not give him that information.

WCIA reached out to the city’s attorney to figure out why they’re doing this. We have not heard back.

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