Today, a columnist for a Michigan newspaper sarcastically characterized the Mackinac Center's Freedom of Information Act request to the labor policy departments of three government universities as follows:

"The right wing Mackinac Center for Public Policy has embraced the concept of turning to Big Government for assistance."

In plain English, the following is a summary of the specific request that he characterizes as "Mackinac embraces Big Government":

"Can you assist us by producing these specified public records, which would demonstrate how you may be violating the law and working against the interests of taxpayers and citizens?"

To this columnist's credit, aside from the gratuitous insults, the rest of his piece gets the story right, correctly recognizing the principle of using open records requests to explore potential government wrongdoing. In this case, "to learn whether the professors were engaging in political activism at taxpayer expense," which is a misdemeanor crime.