The Mackinac Center for Public Policy filed a lawsuit on Friday in the Michigan Court of Claims. It claims the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) ignored an information request. The Mackinac Center says it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for files on a person licensed by the state.
Jarrett Skorup is with the Mackinac Center. Skorup says LARA had posted the documents online but he claims the department then took them down.
"But it’s just one simple report. They’ve already compiled it. It had previously been up on their website. And we haven't been able to get it from them so it's a confusing issue to me," Skorup says.
Skorup says the state's FOIA system is "pretty good," so that he can follow online "when [he] filed it, when their response is, that they were late on it, and then also that they were getting [his] followups asking about the documents. And so clearly they know they are not complying with the law."
“We’re a nonprofit organization in the state, but we have two attorneys, we file dozens of cases every year. We are able to do things like this. But it’s really matters for individuals and smaller news organizations and things that don’t have the ability to file these types of legal requests. That’s why it’s important to enforce the law," Skorup says.
LARA says it has not received the lawsuit yet, so it can't comment at this time.