Minnesota high court: Business not subject to open-records laws

  • Article by: DAVID CHANEN
  • Updated: November 20, 2013 - 9:28 PM

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruling reversed a Court of Appeals decision in case involving an Ely newspaper.

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EleanoreNov. 20, 1312:13 PM

This is simply wrong. As part of acceptence of government contract or choosing to bid on one, public access to records standards incumbant on the government, are assumed by the private entity. These justices don't seem to have a proper handle on thier responsibilities, or our standards.

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eddie55431Nov. 20, 1312:27 PM

This sounds like a correct ruling to me. Just because you choose to bid a government contract that doesn't mean your entire business and all it's vendors, contracts, and trade secrets are exposed to the FOIA. Business is like an onion, with layers that become more and more proprietary as you dig deeper. There has to be a limit of the FOIA, and the court found that was at the point where the initial contractor sublet part of the job to a 3rd party. If there were no limits to FOIA then the impact of government bidding could extend to everyone a contractor works with, and everyone they work with, and everyone they.....well, you get the idea. Under those intrusive rules most companies would find it impossible to do business with the government. That would lower the number of bidders and raise the cost of doing business publicly. There has to be a limit to the reach of the FOIA, and this decision was in the best interest of the people of MN.

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EleanoreNov. 20, 1312:52 PM

"Just because you choose to bid a government contract that doesn't mean your entire business and all it's vendors, contracts, and trade secrets are exposed to the FOIA." - It does mean anything associated with that government contract project is open to the FOIA, and that keeps drilling down as deep as the contracting does, including 3rd, 4th, and 5th parties as well as offshore entities involved.

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worm77Nov. 20, 13 2:23 PM

I think there is no way to control,limit or define how far someone should have access. Unfortunately, this small northern newspaper owner, editor was only looking for anything and everything to spin for his gain. He would not have stopped at one layer of the onion. He lost his local school due to consolidation and was not happy. I think it is a proper ruling and I am glad it had it's day in court.

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