National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Center for Media and Democracy refutes exemptions of open records laws

Press release from Center for Media and Democracy:  The Center for Media and Democracy filed a letter with the Texas Attorney General on Thursday refuting efforts by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to declare itself immune from the state's open records law. Texas is the first known state where ALEC has formally asked an Attorney General for an exemption from sunshine-in-government laws, and it marks a new low in the organization's attempts to advance its legislative agenda in secret and avoid public accountability for facilitating special interest influence. 

“You cannot just create a special private club between lobbyists and lawmakers and then claim your communications with legislators cannot be disclosed to the public under state sunshine laws,” said Lisa Graves, the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy/, “Allowing this would only increase the power of special interests to secretly influence officials elected to represent real people.”

ALEC has recently begun stamping its documents with a "disclaimer" asserting that materials like meeting agendas and model legislation are not subject to any state's open records law. Because of that disclaimer, on July 17, Rep. Stephanie Klick asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for an opinion about whether she was required to comply with CMD's open records request for ALEC-related materials.

Visit PRWatch for the full release and read the letter in its entirety here (248KB PDF).