Today, the Office of Open Records (OOR) issued a final determination in relation to my Right to Know Law appeal in relation to, inter alia, the City of Lancaster’s redaction of donor information. You can download a copy of the determination here. OOR found
Because Section 708(c) prevents the application of 65 P.S. 67.708(b)(13) to financial records as a matter of law, the City has not established that the records of donations to its Legal Defense Fund are exempt from public access.
Although the donations were solicited for a specific, arguably-political purpose (the defense of a lawsuit filed by the NRA), because the City is a non-partisan, political subdivision and the donor list documents the City’s receipt of funds into the City’s bank account, the City has not established that revealing the names and other information concerning the donors would infringe upon the freedom of association provided by the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions.
The City, however, did not subsequently submit any materials in support of withholding records responsive to Items 3 and 4 from public access. Accordingly, based on the lack of evidence provided by the City, the City has not overcome its burden of proof. See 65 P.S. § 67.708(a)(1).
and most importantly,
For the foregoing reasons, Requester’s appeal is granted and the City is required to provide the Requester with all responsive records within thirty days. This Final Determination is binding on all parties.
It will be interesting to see whether the City complies.