November 1, 2004
FROM: Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director
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.
I have received your letter in which asked whether “certain private 501(c)(3) agencies authorized and funded by the OMRDD” that receive funding from OMRDD and through Medicaid are subject to the Freedom of Information Law.
In this regard, that statute is applicable to agency records, and §86(3) 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 legislature."
Based on the foregoing, as a general matter, the Freedom of Information Law is applicable to governmental entities; the receipt of government funding does not bring an entity within the coverage of the definition quoted above or the requirements of the Freedom of Information Law.
I note, however, that government agencies that have funding or other relationships with private entities typically maintain records pertaining to or involving their relationships with those private entities. Any such records maintained by an agency, such as OMRDD, would constitute agency records subject to rights of access conferred by the Freedom of Information Law.
I hope that I have been of assistance.