The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council has awarded the “Citizen Openness Award” to the Center for Media and Democracy for its efforts to bring sunshine to government operations in 2012.
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and Common Cause filed suit in October 2012 after five Wisconsin lawmakers repeatedly refused to comply with lawful requests for their ALEC-related public records, including correspondence held in personal email accounts. CMD has been investigating the American Legislative Exchange Council since analyzing over 800 ALEC bills provided to CMD by a whistleblower and since launching the website ALECexposed.org in July 2011. (CMD has received multiple journalism awards for its investigation of ALEC and our work was featured in a Bill Moyers documentary “United States of ALEC” in September 2012). Open records requests have been one of the key ways to identify the secretive organization’s influence over law and policy in Wisconsin and elsewhere since it communicates extensively with lawmakers about bills it wants introduced and passed but claims it does no lobbying and does not register or file lobbying reports.