McLachlan To Fight Again To Open UConn Foundation Records (Hartford Courant)

October 7, 2015

McLachlan To Fight Again To Open UConn Foundation Records

Hartford Courant
5:26 pm, October 6, 2015

Sen. Michael McLachlan said he wasn’t surprised but was disappointed when the UConn Foundation would not provide him with a list of employees, their salaries and their duties.

In a letter dated Sept. 25, Joshua R. Newton, president of the foundation, wrote that the foundation is “a private non-profit organization, not a government agency, and is therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
“This is consistent with how all non-profit organizations in Connecticut are treated.”

McLachlan, R-Danbury, said attempts have been made three times, including last spring, to pass legislation that would make the foundation subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

“They are losing friends doing what they are doing,” he said. “They need to recognize they are becoming tarnished because they are just insisting on not telling people what they are doing.”

McLachlan said he plans to try again next spring to pass a law that will make the foundation subject to the act. “I’m just going to keep trying to get the attention of other legislators and see what we can do,” said McLachlan who is a ranking member on the legislature’s government administration and elections committee.

In his letter to the senator, Newton said, the foundation, which is the university’s fundraising arm, “already publicly discloses as much or more information than any other non-profit organization in Connecticut.”

He said the foundation is also audited annually by an independent firm and its audit report — along with other financial reporting forms — can be accessed on the organization’s website.

Colleen M. Murphy, executive director of the state’s Freedom of Information Commission, said there may be instances when certain foundation information needs to be protected from the public eye, but she said “there shouldn’t be any harm in subjecting the foundation to the FOIA law.”

“The foundation exists only to support UConn,” she said. “UConn is the signature institution for the state of Connecticut.”