To Whom Applicable: Public Bodies

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.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-04

When a locality delegates its animal control authority to a third party (in this case, the SPCA, a charitable organization), the records of that party related to its animal control functions are open to the public. When a locality delegates its animal control authority to a third party (in this case, the SPCA, a charitable organization), the meetings of that party related to its animal control functions are open to the public.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-04

The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, an interstate compact between Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, is subject to FOIA because the compact's terms says that Virginia law applies in cases raised under the compact. Public body may recoup costs of providing records. Records detailing legal advice given to public body may be withheld.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-19-03

Records held by Barnes & Noble relating to the management of pulbic university bookstores are subject to FOIA if the store is acting as the university's agent, but not if the store is acting as an independent contractor. University may not frustrate public policy of access to records on the transaction of public business by outsourcing them to independent contractors.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-18-03

A university student organization supported wholly or principally by public funds is subject to FOIA as an independent body; the parent university is not the custodian of the organization's records. It is recommended that a FOIA request made of a public body that is not the custodian of the records sought should be forwarded on to the proper custodian.

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