Why is government transparency important?
Access to information allows members of the public to protect their own rights, as well as the rights of others. Your government works for you. Each citizen should have the ability to know what their government is doing on his behalf, and the government should provide an open door for feedback. Representation works best when it is transparent and multi-directional.
Where can I find more information?
Arm yourself with information. Visit the About “the Standard”, where you can find definitions of commonly used terms in the transparency movement, and better equip yourself with the knowledge necessary to become an informed citizen.
Answers to frequently asked questions about transparency and accountability, as well as tools to become an activist in your state are also available. Stay up-to-date on transparency news, and about those working towards transparency reform.
If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact a staff member!
How can I implement transparency at a state and local level?
You’re already off to a great start! Take “Sunshine Action” by tackling some of the most common roadblocks to transparency, like making FOIA requests. The FOIA FAQ will guide both new and seasoned requesters to better tailor FOIA requests so that each endeavor is more successful. Questions regarding when you should FOIA, if you can FOIA information, and what type of information is protected will help activists to better learn to utilize one of the most helpful transparency tools.
Are resources available that I can distribute to fellow activists?
File a FOIA
For our Standard activists to use and share, we have a number of excellent resources. Our unique, fully-automated FOIA request generator links you to a simple, clear form to request basic information from your state or local government.
Join us every Friday from 2-3pm on Twitter for #FOIAchat to learn about freedom of information laws. Novices and experts welcome!
Investigate State Spending
Find Out Who Supports Transparency
To get involved and find out how your lawmakers view proactive disclosure and transparency, our Legislator/City Official guide will help you to communicate effectively with your local officials about transparency.
Click here to find questions that you should ask your state legislator and local leaders, and an explanation of why lawmakers should have answers.
Send a Letter
We have form letters available to write to your local newspaper editor or your legislator about transparency. Our model legislation provides an inclusive resource that represents the ideal transparency model and our “Questions for Your Officials“ is a great way to prepare to have a dialogue with your local, county, and state officials about transparency.
Find Transparency Allies
State-by-state transparency initiatives and allies are available to coordinate efforts in your area!