March 14, 1994
Mr. Thomas P. Halley
Attorney At Law
297 Mill Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to
issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is
based solely upon the facts presented in your correspondence.
Dear Mr. Halley:
I have received your letter of January 26. Please accept my
apologies for the delay in response.
Your question is whether a county political party committee is
subject to the Freedom of Information Law". While I am unaware of
any judicial interpretation of the Freedom of Information Law that
deals specifically with the issue, it is my view that a political
party committee falls beyond the coverage of that statute.
In brief, the Freedom of Information Law pertains to agency
records, and §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
Although a political party committee may engage in functions that
relate to government, I do not believe that such an entity could be
characterized as a governmental entity that performs a governmental
function. In short, because a political party committee is
separate from government and is not part of government, I do not
believe that it would fall within the requirements of the Freedom
of Information Law.
I hope that I have been of some assistance.
Robert J. Freeman