To Whom Applicable: Public Bodies

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-06

American Society of Civil Engineers is not a public body because its funding comes primarily from grants. Records provided by the body to the Secretary of Transportation or the Department of Rail and Public Transportation would be public records, though. And because of intense public interest, the ASCE "might wish to consider opening the meetings to the public and/or publicly releasing meeting minutes."

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-06

It is beyond the scope of the FOI Advisory Council's authority to interpret the rules of either house of the General Assembly. There is no joint conference of the General Assembly after adjournment sine die.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-09-05

Financial status of Virginia Performing Arts Foundation is difficult to ascertain by a non-fact-finding entity, such as the Freedom of Information Advisory Council. VPAF does not appear to be a public body at the time of the FOIA request being made here. Many of the records in the possession of a party not subject to FOIA will often be in the possession of the public entity the party is receiving funding from. That two members of a public body also serve as members of the board of a private entity does not by itself transform that private entity in a public body subject to FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-05

Study commission appointed to advise public body is also a public body. Public body may impose restrictions on placement and use of recording devices, but may not prohibit recording.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-28-04

The issue of whether a private entity that receives less than 66 percent of its budget from governmental sources is principally supported by public funds must be considered on a case-by-case basis. The receipt by a private entity of public money derived from arm's length transactions, without any other source of public funds, should not be included in determining the private entity's status as a public body under FOIA. As such, the Peninsula SPCA is not a 'public body' and therefore is not subject to the records and meeting requirements of FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-27-04

A task force created by a mayor-elect is not a public body subject to FOIA, as the Mayor-elect is not an official covered by FOIA until he takes office.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-22-04

It is the policy of the FOIAC not to issue advisory opinions on matters in pending litigation, or on matters that have already been decided by a judge of competent jurisdiction. Whether or not an entity is a public body is to be measured at the time a request for records is made. Even if entity is not a public body, records held by members of the entity who are also members of other public bodies will be subject to FOIA.

Wigand v. Wilkes

Public television and radio station not a public body because less than two-thirds of funding comes from public money, and they do not perform a delegated governmental function.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-04

Town-created strategic planning committee is a public body. The Onancock Business and Civic Organization is not a public body because, exclusive of public grant funding, it receives only 36% of its funding from governmental monies. FOI Advisory Council cannot advise on what is or should be meaningful citizen participation. Nothing in FOIA prohibits receivers of FOIA requests from sharing the request with others.

Beck v. Shelton

FOIA does not apply to members-elect. Exchange of multiple e-mails over a several-hour period not an illegal electronic meeting. Neighborhood meeting no FOIA violation.


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