National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Austin, Texas, not saying where $6 million in coronavirus aid went

More than $6 million in taxpayer money flowed to Austin nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but taxpayers might never learn the identities of the organizations that got the money or get a chance to dig into their stated need for assistance.

Citing a little-known state law that government transparency experts are only now learning exists, the city has refused to turn over a list of the 365 nonprofits that were granted the funds.

The $6 million was funneled through the city from the federal government and distributed out of the Austin Nonprofit and Civic Health Organizations Relief fund, more commonly known as the ANCHOR fund.

On Oct. 19, the American-Statesman requested a list from the city of the fund’s award recipients. On Nov. 16, the city denied the newspaper’s request, saying in a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that it thought the information was exempt from public disclosure and requested that Paxton’s office affirm that determination.

To read more, go to the Austin American-Statesman.