Congress sues four citizens!

Enough is enough. At least that’s what the tiny school district of the “no-stoplight” town of Congress, AZ is saying to four women who have bombarded it with over 100 public records requests in eight years. The purpose of this paperwork? “I’m just an average citizen wanting to make sure that the money we’re paying is being used appropriately,” explains alleged FOIA-abuser Jean Warren. (That must explain her request for the serial numbers on both old and new school air conditioners.) Of course, this might not be such a big deal for a large school district, accustomed as they are to garden-variety paper-trail bureaucracy. But for this one-school school district (total enrollment 112), appeasing the requesters would require hiring a full-time clerk to process the load. The district has spent thousands already placating the pesky quartet. What’s the alternative? Sue them, which is what it’s doing. While we’re sympathetic to the distress this teensy district is facing, they clearly don’t have a leg to stand on. FOIA leaves little room for interpretation. But it’s situations like these that remind us that some pieces of legislation beg for flexibility.

Tiny school district sues citizens who seek info,” by Pauline Arrillaga, The Associated Press, March 18, 2010

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