Media Groups Urge Senators to Vote on the OPEN Government Act

Friday, May 18, 2007
Rick Blum 202-309-2654 (cell)
rblum (at)

The ten media organizations comprising the Sunshine in Government Initiative (SGI) sent a letter today to the Senate leadership urging the Senate to vote on bipartisan, common sense reforms to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The House already approved similar legislation (H.R. 1309) by an overwhelming vote of 308-117. The bill awaits a vote in the full Senate after the Judiciary Committee endorsed the bill with a voice vote.

The legislation, the Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act, or OPEN Government Act, makes simple, common sense reforms to the way federal agencies process requests for documents under FOIA. We urge the Senate to pass this bipartisan legislation soon.

FOIA still is an important tool to keep the public informed. In May 2007 alone the federal FOIA has helped the public learn that

· Construction equipment interfered with navigation equipment at one of America’s busiest airports

· A Defense Department warning that transmitters embedded in unique-looking coins had been planted on U.S. contractors turned out to be Canadian commemorative quarters. There is no evidence of foul play

· Federal efforts to clean up sites polluted with hazardous materials have stalled from lack of funding

· The driver and tanker involved in a dramatic accident causing the collapse of a key freeway interchange near San Francisco had been cited numerous times for safety violations

The Sunshine in Government Initiative is a coalition of ten media groups promoting open and accountable government. For more information, visit