2016-FOI Summit Speakers & Presenters

2016 FOI Summit Agenda


Daniel Bevarly, Executive Director, NFOIC

Dan joined NFOIC in 2012 to help develop and manage programs and the national coalition’s state affiliate members. His work has helped develop an online network of affiliate web sites to enhance marketing and collaboration across the organizations, and a prototype web-based FOI training portal for public employees. He was named NFOIC’s interim executive director last Fall. His career spans the public, nonprofit and private sectors and includes being the PIO for the City of Louisville, helping the U.S. Army market deactivated Army Ammunition plants for private reuse, and receiving a national award from the American Planning Association as part of team that built an early online citizen engagement platform in NYC following 9/11. Dan is also an adjunct professor of American Government at Florida Gulf Coast University and holds a Masters of Public Administration and a B.S. in Criminal Justice.

dbevarly@nfoic.org          @dbevarly


Thomas S. Blanton, Director, National Security Archive at George Washington University

The National Security Archive is described as “the world’s largest nongovernmental library of declassified documents.” Blanton served as the Archive’s first Director of Planning & Research beginning in 1986. He became Deputy Director in 1989, and Executive Director in 1992. He filed his first Freedom of Information Act request in 1976 as a weekly newspaper reporter in Minnesota; and among many hundreds subsequently, he filed the FOIA request and subsequent lawsuit (with Public Citizen Litigation Group) that forced the release of Oliver North’s Iran-contra diaries in 1990. His books include White House E-Mail: The Top Secret Computer Messages the Reagan-Bush White House Tried to Destroy (1995). He co-authored The Chronology (1987) on the Iran-contra affair; and Masterpieces of History: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe. His articles have appeared nationally and globally. A graduate of Harvard University, Blanton was an editor of the independent university daily newspaper The Harvard Crimson. He has received the American Library Association James Madison Award Citation for “defending the public’s right to know,” and is a founding editorial board member of freedominfo.org, the virtual network of international freedom of information advocates.



Chad Bowman, partner at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP

Chad is a media lawyer in the D.C. office of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP. His practice focuses on advising and representing new and legacy media journalists and organizations, as well as other nonprofit and for-profit entities engaged in public advocacy and speech. He has represented clients in state and federal courts around the country in access, defamation, privacy, copyright, subpoena, marketing, newsgathering, and related First Amendment cases, and also counsels clients about these issues. A former journalist himself, Chad is a board member of the D.C. Open Government Coalition and represented the Coalition in its first FOIA lawsuit.


Jay H. Dick, Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs, Americans for the Arts

Jay H. Dick is the Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts where he works to educate and inform elected officials about the value of the arts and culture. Having worked in the governmental affairs/advocacy arena for over 20 years, he is a nationally recognized expert and travels the country working with local and state arts leaders to establish strong and lasting arts advocacy programs. Jay was appointed by Virginia Governor McAuliffe to serve a five-year term as a Commissioner for the Virginia Commission for the Arts. He also serves on the Board of the Arts Council of Fairfax County where he chairs their advocacy committee. Advocacy for the arts is his job, but also his passion.

jay@artsusa.org       @JayAFTA

Susan Ferriss, Reporter, The Center for Public Integrity

Susan Ferriss is a prize-winning former foreign correspondent who has been investigating treatment of children by the U.S. justice and immigration system, law enforcement and the school-discipline process. She joined CPI in 2011. She received a first-place investigative prize from the National Education Writers Association for a 2012 series revealing how Los Angeles school police citations pushed thousands of Latino and black students into courts for minor infractions. A 2013 investigation into schools forcing farmworker kids into bogus home study won Columbia University’s Tobenkin national journalism award. “Criminalizing Kids,” a 2015 investigation on national and local school policing data spurred municipal and statewide policy changes in Virginia and won ONA’s investigative award, a Kaleidoscope diversity coverage award from RTDNA and the Correspondent’s Award from SPJ’s Washington D.C. chapter. Susan is co-author of The Fight in the Fields, a history of Cesar Chavez, and producer of The Golden Cage, a documentary about farmworkers. Susan was a Knight fellow at Stanford University and is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley.

sferriss@publicintegrity.org       @susanferriss


Deborah Fisher, Executive Director, Tennessee Coalition for Open Government

Deborah spent 25 years as a journalist, holding positions of reporter, city editor, business editor, managing editor and executive editor. She managed news teams across topics, including business, investigations, government and data reporting. She was senior editor for news at The Tennessean, vice president and executive editor at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, past president of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the SPJ and is currently on its board as its FOI chair. Fisher also is the director of the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. She recently co-authored a booklet with Tennessee Press Association public policy director Frank Gibson, Keys to Open Government: A guide to Tennessee’s open records and open meetings laws. Deborah holds a B.A. in journalism from Baylor University.

fisher@tcog.info       @TNOpenGovt

Jesse Franzblau, Policy Associate, OpenTheGovernment.org

Jesse has been a long-time FOI advocate specializing in use of the FOIA to document U.S. national security policy and human rights violations. At OTG, Jesse carries out policy analysis and conducts monitoring and evaluation of federal open government commitments. Prior to OTG, he worked as a consultant for the Open Society Justice Initiative, as an investigator for the Center for Justice and Accountability, and a researcher for the National Security Archive – promoting access to information and open government in the U.S. and abroad. He has written for a number of publications on U.S. foreign policy, government transparency and the intersection between freedom of information and human rights truth and justice efforts. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and a B.A. from the University of Colorado.


Matt N. Gardner, Attorney-Advisor, Office of Information Policy (OIP) at the United States Department of Justice.

Matt serves on the compliance team where he encourages agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). He provides legal advice on the FOIA to various federal government agencies as well as components within the Department of Justice. Mr. Gardner serves as OIP’s subject matter expert on Exemption 7C. Mr. Gardner is a 2014 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, WI. He received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2010. Prior to joining OIP full time, Mr. Gardner served as a summer law clerk (SLIP) at OIP in 2013. Additionally, Mr. Gardner is a veteran of the United State Marine Corps. He served four years active duty, obtaining the rank of Sergeant. While in the Marine Corps, Mr. Gardner deployed twice to Iraq, in Operation Iraqi Freedom with 3d Battalion 8th Marines, 2d Marine Division.

Kevin M. Goldberg, Member, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, P.L.C. and Immediate Past President, D.C. Open Government Coalition

Kevin focuses on First Amendment, Freedom of Information Act, and intellectual property issues. He is the Immediate Past President of the D.C. Open Government Coalition and the current Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Press Foundation. He is also a member of the National Freedom of Information Hall of Fame.


goldberg@fhhlaw.com       @kevinmgoldberg

John (“Jack”) C. Greiner, Attorney, Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP

Jack is a commercial litigator with an emphasis on communications and media law. Serving on his firm’s Appellate Practice Group, he is one of the region’s leading advocates for governmental transparency, having argued numerous cases in the Supreme Courts of Ohio and Kentucky and in appellate courts in the tri-state area. Jack successfully argued a case before the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that prevented a title insurance company from denying coverage to a mortgage lender. Jack also argued a case in Ohio’s Eighth Appellate District that protected the rights of mortgage lenders in foreclosure actions. Both cases are leading precedents in the field. Jack has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for his work. From 2007 to present, Jack has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer for his work in Commercial Litigation and First Amendment Law. He was awarded the Ohio Society of Professional Journalist Award for Best Defense of the First Amendment for his contribution to “Lead’s Dangerous Legacy.”

Elizabeth Hempowicz, Policy Counsel, Project on Government Oversight

Elizabeth oversees POGO’s legislative reform work, with a focus on whistleblower protections and government accountability. Liz develops and advances public policies to combat corruption and to promote openness and accountability in government. She strategizes on the best way to translate POGO report findings into legislative reforms. She has participated in efforts to improve lobbying and congressional ethics rules, whistleblower protections, the Freedom of Information Act, and other open government initiatives. She has testified before Congress and been quoted or appeared in several news outlets. She earned her J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law in 2014, where she served as the Managing Editor of the Legislation & Policy Brief. She earned a B.A. in International Political Economy and Diplomacy at the University of Bridgeport in 2010, where she graduated magna cum laude. Elizabeth is licensed to practice law in the State of New York.

ehempowicz@pogo.org       @lizzy_loo_hoo


Bijan Hughes, Staff Attorney at the D.C. Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Bijan’s primary duties are reviewing contracts and assisting in the adjudication of FOIA appeals on behalf of the Mayor. During law school, Bijan interned for Judge Kollar-Kotelly, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and Judge Braden, U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Prior to joining the MOLC, Bijan worked as a pro bono attorney at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from The George Washington University and is originally from Woodinville, Washington. He is licensed to practice law in Maryland.


Traci Hughes, Director, D.C. Office of Open Government

Traci is the inaugural director of the Office of Open Government. Hired in April 2013, she was tapped by the members of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability to bring greater transparency to District government operations. In this role, Ms. Hughes oversees Open Meetings Act compliance among more than 170 boards and commissions, and Freedom of Information Act compliance of more than 90 District Government Agencies, including the Executive Office of the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia. She advances transparency policies and programs impacting all of local government with the aim of increasing access to records, and creating a more responsive government through the use of civic engagement tools.


Jonathan Jones, Executive Director, North Carolina Open Government Coalition

Jonathan became director of NCOGC in 2013. A former Durham County Assistant District Attorney, Jones has prosecuted more than 100 trials. He completed his master’s thesis on the topic of Internet defamation and served as editor-in-chief of the First Amendment Law Review. He worked from 2007-2011 on UNC’s Innocence Project and was a law clerk in the Office of the Appellate Defender. He has published in the First Amendment Law Review, News Media & The Law and “Sunshine, Inc.: The Basics of Covering Business Organizations” produced by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. He earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from UNC as well and worked for six years as a reporter at newspapers in Maryland and Virginia and at the News & Record in Greensboro.



Mal Leary, President, NFOIC; Vice President, Maine Freedom of Information Coalition; Political Correspondent, Maine Public Broadcasting Network

A lifelong journalist and Maine native, Mal has worked as both a reporter and editor in broadcast and in print, in both Washington, D.C. and in Maine. He has won numerous awards for his reporting on state government issues and politics. Mal is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters & Editors and has long been an advocate for open government. He is the SPJ Sunshine Chair in Maine and is currently the president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition based at the University of Missouri Journalism School and is a Vice President of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition. He served on the Maine Legislature’s Right to Know Advisory Committee until he resigned from the panel in 2015 when the legislature violated its own transparency rules. Mal is married with three grown children, several grandchildren and lives in Augusta, within sight of the Capitol dome.

MLeary@mpbn.net        @MalLeary

Charles Lewis, Executive Editor at The Investigative Reporting Workshop, American University

Charles is a tenured professor and the founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University School of Communication in Washington, D.C. A former producer for ABC News and CBS News 60 Minutes, he founded the award-winning Center for Public Integrity and its International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the world’s first working network of 190 premier reporters on six continents producing content across borders. The principal author of five Center books, including national bestseller The Buying of the President 2004, Lewis was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1998 and the PEN USA First Amendment award in 2004. His most recent book, 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity, was published in 2014.


Victoria Lewis, PMP, dataMontgomery Project Manager, Department of Technology Services, Montgomery County, Maryland

Victoria Lewis joined Montgomery County, MD in 2005 and is responsible for dataMontgomery, Montgomery County, Maryland’s open data program. Ms. Lewis has over 17 years of experience in Information Technology project management, including project leadership in both the private and public sectors. She oversees the execution and operation of a multi-year, countywide Open Data Implementation Plan. Victoria advocates civic engagement through data not only by furthering policing transparency as a member of the White House Police Data Initiative, but also managed a financial transparency public/private partnership that resulted in financial data standards and guided budget and spending websites used by over 200 governments nationwide. Ms. Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and maintains her PMP certification.

Tim Lowden, Manager, the Digital Analytics Program (DAP), General Services Administration

Tim manages the federal government’s aggregated web analytics initiative (DAP) at the General Services Administration. The DAP aims to help agencies better understand the public’s interaction with the federal digital space, and records over 1.5 billion pageviews on more than 5,000 federal government websites each month. Portions of these data are available to the public at analytics.usa.gov. In his three years in government, Tim has been part of teams that have been awarded the Harvard Innovations in American Government Award and the Walter Gellhorn Innovation Award. Prior to his government service, he worked at the UN’s International Labour Organization. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Morocco, North Africa, and holds degrees from SUNY Buffalo and the George Washington University.


Adam A. Marshall, Knight Litigation Attorney, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Adam was recently named the first Knight Litigation Attorney at RCFP, funded by a grant from the James S. and John L. Knight Foundation. He previously served as the Jack Nelson-Dow Jones Foundation Legal Fellow at the Reporters Committee from 2014 to 2016. He graduated from The GWU Law School with high honors and is a member of the Order of the Coif. During law school, Marshall served as an associate for the George Washington International Law Review, volunteered for the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, worked as a research assistant for Alan B. Morrison, and served as the president of the GW ACLU student group. He a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award and the GW Law Pro Bono Service Recognition Award. Before attending law school, Marshall received a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College where he graduated magna cum laude, and studied abroad at the London School of Economics.


Carlton T. Mayers II, Policy Counsel, Policing Reform Campaign, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

As Policy Counsel for its Policing Reform Campaign, Carlton will advance LDF’s efforts to effect responsible and unbiased policing in communities across the country. The Policing Reform campaign addresses the national crisis in policing by using research, public education, policy and legislative advocacy, litigation, community organizing, and communications strategies to achieve systemic reforms at the local, state, and national levels. Mayers previously served as the Criminal Justice Program Manager for the NAACP National Headquarters where he co-authored Born Suspect, a report on racial profiling, and advanced program initiatives on issues such as sentencing reform, prisoner reentry, juvenile justice and death penalty reform. Prior to the NAACP, Mayers was the Prisoner Reentry Mediation Program Manager and a Mediator and Facilitator for AmeriCorps in Montgomery County, MD. Mayers has a B.S. of Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University and a J.D. and Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.

CMayers@naacpldf.org       @Ctmayers2


Kel McClanahan, Executive Director, National Security Counselors

Kel is an attorney specializing in national security law and information and privacy law. He received his Master of Arts cum laude in Security Studies from the Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, his Juris Doctorate from the American University Washington College of Law, and his Master of Laws in National Security Law from the Georgetown University Law Center. Before chartering National Security Counselors, he served as Director of FOIA Operations for the James Madison Project and Of Counsel to the Law Office of Mark S. Zaid, P.C. He has taught National Security Law at the University of the District of Columbia and Point Park University. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the National Military Intelligence Association and serves as Associate Editor for the American Intelligence Journal. He belongs to the bars of N.Y., D.C, the U.S. Supreme Court, and several other federal courts.



Michael Morisy, Co-Founder, Muckrock

Michael manages Muckrock’s general operations. In 2014-2015, he was named a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. He was previously an editor at the Boston Globe, where he launched the paper’s technology vertical BetaBoston. He contributed to the New York Daily News’ Pulitzer Prize-winning series on the deadly health conditions of Ground Zero workers. For encrypted communications please email m@morisy.com and use his PGP key. He graduated in 2007 from Cornell University with a degree in English.     

m@morisy.com       @morisy


Jumana Musa, Senior Privacy and National Security Counsel, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Jumana is a human rights attorney and racial justice activist. Prior to joining NACDL, she served as a policy consultant for the Southern Border Communities Coalition, a coalition of over 60 groups across the southwest that address militarization and brutality by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in border communities. Previously, she served as Deputy Director for the Rights Working Group, a national coalition of civil rights, civil liberties, human rights, and immigrant rights advocates where she coordinated the “Face the Truth” campaign against racial profiling. She was also the Advocacy Director for Domestic Human Rights and International Justice at Amnesty International USA, where she addressed the domestic and international impact of U.S. counterterrorism efforts on human rights. She was one of the first human rights attorneys allowed to travel to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and served as Amnesty International’s legal observer at military commission proceedings on the base.

jmusa@nacdl.org       @NACDL


Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate and Author

Named by The Atlantic as one of the hundred most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century, Ralph Nader has helped us drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breath better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments for more than four decades. The iconic champion of consumer rights first made headlines in 1965 with his pioneering bestseller Unsafe at Any Speed, a devastating indictment that lambasted the auto industry for producing unsafe vehicles. The book led to congressional hearing and automobile safety laws passed in 1966, including the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. By starting dozens of citizen groups, Ralph Nader has created an expectation of corporate and government accountability. Nader and his “Raiders” were the most aggressive early users of FOIA and his efforts led to important strengthening amendments during the ‘70s. He was instrumental in the creation of the OSHA, the EPA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Nader’s recent books include Unstoppable, return to Sender, The Good Fight, and the bestseller, Seventeen Traditions.



Miriam Nisbet, Founding Director of the federal Office of Government Information Services

Miriam Nisbet was the founding Director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Created by the 2007 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, OGIS is the federal FOIA ombudsman office, charged with providing mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and federal agencies and with improving FOIA compliance. Miriam retired from NARA in November 2014, remaining active as an advocate for government transparency and for dispute resolution. Prior to her position as the FOIA ombuds, Miriam worked for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); served as Legislative Counsel for the American Library Association; was Special Counsel for Information Policy at NARA; and served as Deputy Director of the Office of Information and Privacy, US Department of Justice. She is a member of the Bars of the District of Columbia and North Carolina and was elected to the American Law Institute in 2005. Miriam was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame in March 2016.


Barbara A. Petersen, President, Florida First Amendment Foundation

Before taking her current position at FAF in 1995, Petersen was staff attorney for the Joint Committee on Information Technology Resources of the Florida Legislature, where she worked exclusively on public records legislation and issues. A passionate advocate of the public’s right to oversee its government, Petersen is the author of numerous reports and articles on open government issues. She currently sits on the board of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and NFOIC, having served as its president and treasurer. Petersen served as chair of Florida’s Commission on Open Government Reform. Petersen is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and Florida State University College of Law.

sunshine@floridafaf.org       @FloridaFAF

Megan Rhyne, Executive Director, Virginia Coalition for Open Government

Megan Rhyne has worked for the Virginia Coalition for Open Government since 1998 and became its executive director in 2008. Before that, she served as an opinions editor for Texas Lawyer in Dallas, as a freelance writer for Androvett Legal Media in Dallas and the National Law Journal in New York, and as an adjunct professor of media law at Hampton University’s journalism school. She first became interested in open government as an FOI intern at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in 1991. Her law degree is from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and she was a radio, television and motion pictures major at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

mrhyne@opengovva.org       @opengovva


Jeffrey A. Roberts, Executive director, Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition

Jeffrey worked in journalism and public policy before coming to the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition in July 2013. Roberts was at The Denver Post from 1984-2007 as a reporter, assistant city editor and data journalism specialist on The Post’s projects team. He later spent four years at the University of Denver’s Center for Colorado’s Economic Future. Early in his career, he was a reporter at the News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla. Roberts earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University.

jroberts@coloradofoic.org       @COFOIC

Scott Roberts, Senior Campaign Director, Color of Change

Scott joined ColorOfChange in fall 2015. He is an organizer and strategist committed to ending mass incarceration. A native of Emporia, VA, he credits his passion for racial justice to his upbringing in a family that has been engaged in the local civil rights struggle in Southside Virginia for four generations. Scott studied political science at Morehouse College and the University of Chicago. He has worked as an organizer and strategist on electoral and issue campaigns including the 2008 Obama campaign and efforts for worker’s rights, healthcare, marriage equality, immigrant rights and democratic reform. In his most recent position as Sr. Campaign Manager at Advancement Project, Scott collaborated with local grassroots organizations across the country on issues of criminalization. He has trained over 1,000 organizers working on school-to-prison pipeline over the last 4 years. In 2013, Scott co-founded Freedom Side, a national network of youth of color organizers focused on racial justice issues.

scott.roberts@colorofchange.org       @ColorOfChange

Daniel Schuman, Policy Director, Demand Progress

Daniel works at the intersection of law, policy, and technology. Demand Progress is a national grassroots organization fighting for basic rights and freedoms needed for a modern democracy. He is the co-founder of the Congressional Data Coalition, which works with Congress to open up legislative information. He has served as policy director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and prior to that as policy counsel with the Sunlight Foundation, and a legislative attorney with the Congressional Research Service. In 2016, Daniel was named among the FastCase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries & funders.” He was named among the ‘top 25 most influential people under 40 in gov and tech’ in 2013 by FedScoop. He is a nationally recognized expert on federal transparency and has testified before Congress and appeared on NPR and C-SPAN. Daniel graduated cum laude from Emory University School of Law.



Kelley Shannon, Executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas

Kelley has directed the FOIFT since 2013. After earning a journalism degree from the UT at Austin in 1985, Shannon was a reporter at the Palestine (TX) Herald-Press and at the Savannah (GA) News-Press. She joined the Associated Press, first as a newswoman in Dallas then as correspondent in San Antonio, where she covered business, the Texas-Mexico border, the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and breaking news for more than a decade. In 2000, as George W. Bush was running for president, she became the AP bureau’s supervisory correspondent in Austin for 10 years, writing and leading coverage of politics and the Legislature. She subsequently formed her own niche news business; did extensive freelancing, including assignments for Bloomberg, Reuters, the NYT and the Center for Public Integrity; and worked for The Dallas Morning News as a Capitol reporter during legislative sessions before joining FOIFT.

kelley.shannon@foift.org       @TXFOIT


Emily Shaw, Senior Analyst, the Sunlight Foundation

Emily helps Sunlight lead the charge to make useful public information available online. Emily writes and speaks regularly on topics related to public data access. She has presented before a wide variety of local and national audiences and regularly provides insights to media outlets across the country. Before coming to the Sunlight Foundation, Emily served as a professor of political science at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine. She has worked for a range of civil and human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, the American Friends Service Committee and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Emily holds a Ph.D. in Political Science (UC Berkeley) and retains a great love for formal academics, but now sees the blog as her classroom and the world as her library.

eshaw@sunlightfoundation.com       @emilydshaw

Thomas M. Susman, Director of governmental affairs office, American Bar Association

Tom started working on FOIA issues in the US Department of Justice in 1968, and in the early ‘70s he was principle Senate staff architect of the 1974 Amendments to the FOIA. Tom’s work through the years has included counseling, litigation, and lobbying on access to government information and privacy. In addition to a general legislative and regulatory practice, he has litigated FOIA cases against the CIA, State Department, Defense Department and Justice Department; testified on FOIA reform before the U.S. Congress; advised clients on information issues; and authored a number of works on information and privacy. Tom is Founding President of the D.C. Open Government Coalition and serves on the Board of the National Freedom of Information Center and on the Steering Committee of OpenTheGovernment.org. Earlier this year he was appointed to the National Archives Federal Advisory Committee on the Freedom of Information Act.


Cori Zarek, Senior advisor, Open Government at the White House; President, DC Open Government

Cori is the President of the D.C. Open Government Coalition. She joined the coalition at its founding in 2009 and has led the organization’s community engagement efforts including a large Sunshine Week event each year examining open government in Washington, D.C. In her day job, Cori is the Senior Advisor for Open Government in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, working with federal agencies on open government policies and priorities, including open data efforts. Previously, she was the staff attorney for the federal Office of Government Information Services at the National Archives, the office that serves as the federal Freedom of Information Act Ombudsman. Before joining the federal government, Cori was the Freedom of Information Director at The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press where she assisted journalists with legal issues. Cori also practiced for a law firm in Washington specializing in administrative law and previously wrote for The Des Moines Register. She received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Iowa and teaches a communication law class at American University.