January 25. 1994
Ms. Tavillia Woodruff
304 Main Street
Brewster, NY 10509-1540
Dear Ms. Woodruff:
I have received your letter of January 18. You wrote that you
are seeking records "that are based on amount received and spent"
concerning your religion. If I understand correctly, you are
interested in obtaining records pertaining to your church or
religious institution indicating the amount of money that it
acquires and spends.
In this regard, it is noted that the Freedom of Information
Law pertains to agency records. Section 86(3) of the Law defines
the term "agency" to mean:
"any state or municipal department, board,
bureau, division, commission, committee,
public authority, public corporation, council,
office or other governmental entity performing
a governmental or proprietary function for the
state or any one or more municipalities
thereof, except the judiciary or the state
Based on the foregoing, the Freedom of Information Law generally
applies to records maintained by entities of state and local
government. It would not apply to records maintained by a church
or other religious institution. Further, I know of no government
agency that would maintain the kinds of records in question.
There are situations, however, in which charitable
organizations must report with respect to the amounts of charitable
contributions received and the amounts expended on administrative
costs, for example. If that is of interest to you, it is suggested
that you contact the Division of Charities Registration, Department
of State, 41 State Street, Albany, NY 12207. That office can be
reached by phone at (518) 474-3820.
I hope that I have been of some assistance.
Robert J. Freeman