National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Michigan: Fighting for our right to FOIA

Here’s one of those truths that ought to be self-evident: In this democracy, governments — federal, state, and local — are our governments. They belong to “We the people,” after all.

We elect those who run them, and fund their salaries and everything they do. That means, or should mean, that we have a right to see what they are up to.

Today’s politicians don’t always believe that. Arlan Meekhof, the thuggish state senate majority leader, has systematically killed any attempt to expand the public’s right to know, just as he has with every effort to make voting easier.

“You guys are the only people who care about this,” he sneered at a reporter who asked him why he wouldn’t even allow a vote on expanding the Freedom of Information Act.

Meekhof doesn’t even pretend to care about democracy. Once, politicians of both parties knew how important it was. That was never more utterly clear than in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s. President Richard Nixon had declared himself essentially above the law; tried obsessively to hide what government did from its citizens, and actually once said, “It’s not illegal if the president does it.” Read more…