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Week in Review: Expose Gov't Secrets? Here's How to Do It

July 16, 2022

Troubling trend: Government leaders—particularly in America’s K-12 schools—are seeking to close government operations to the public.

Stop the secrecy: Engaged citizens can use state public records laws to keep government accountable.

“Open and transparent government is essential to a free society,” Goldwater Director of National Litigation Jon Riches writes in Townhall. But many citizens are unaware that each state has its own public records law that applies to state and local governments—and they’re often more protective of transparent government than the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

These statutes aren’t just for lawyers. “Public records laws are designed with the public requester in mind,” Riches adds. “As such, they should be used by all of us—often.” That’s why Goldwater has designed Open My Government, a comprehensive, step-by-step, and state-by-state guide that outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information that are tailored to each state’s unique public records law. And when government entities still try to keep public information under lock and key, Goldwater’s American Freedom Network of pro bono attorneys is ready to help citizens in any state access the information they’re entitled to. 

“Ensuring transparency depends upon an engaged citizenry,” Riches concludes. “As parents, taxpayers, voters, and community members, we should all consider ways to promote government transparency, and then use public records laws to obtain information about government operations.”

Read Riches’ op-ed in Townhall, and check out our Open My Government tool here.

WATCH: Fox Features Goldwater’s ‘Gold Standard’ 


A new national “gold standard” for school choice. That’s what Arizona has established by expanding eligibility for its Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program to every student in the state, Goldwater’s Matt Beienburg says on Fox News.

“Arizona is a model for the nation now. I think what we have done with this legislation here is sort of the gold standard for what other states can take up and say, ‘We are going to revolutionize our approach to education, and make it student-centric—focused on students, not on an institution,’” explains Beienburg, Director of Goldwater’s Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy and Director of Education Policy.

Every child is different. So why should states take a one-size-fits-all approach to education—one that empowers public education bureaucrats instead of parents? As Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey notes later in the Fox segment: “If we can empower people, and empower parents, they’ll make better decisions—especially better decisions than big government.” That’s why Arizona will now allow every family—no matter their background, their zip code, or their income level—to decide what educational style best meets their child’s unique needs. The Goldwater Institute is leading the charge to ensure that the rest of the nation follows suit.

Watch the full Fox segment here

FREE MOVIE SCREENING: The Film They Don’t Want You to See


It’s a story that cannot die in a prison cell. When Hong Kong’s basic freedoms come under attack, one man finds himself in the crosshairs of the state, and he must choose between defending Hong Kong’s long-standing liberties, or his own freedom. Now, you can see this incredible story for yourself.

The Goldwater Institute invites you to a complimentary screening of the must-see documentary The Hong Konger at 6:30 PM on August 11th at the AMC Arizona Center 24 theater in Phoenix. This event is held in partnership with the Acton Institute and Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Following the film, we’ll be hosting a panel with Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, President of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation; The Hong Konger Associate Producer Eric Cohn; and Goldwater Executive Vice President Timothy Sandefur.

Register today for your free tickets here



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