Guest View: Transparency not Republican, not Democrat

Openness in government is not a liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, Independent, TEA party or Libertarian issue. The importance of transparency in local, state and federal government should transcend parties and political ideologies.

Checks and balances provide few checks and little balance when officials broker deals behind closed doors and conceal documents that contain important information that citizens have the right, and often the need, to know.

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Pro-Israel Tennessee nonprofit submits Freedom of Information requests after surprise IRS audit

Liberty Institute, in partnership with the Washington, D.C. law firm Bancroft PLLC, recently submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury Department and the State Department on behalf of HaYovel, Inc., a Tennessee-based nonprofit dedicated to the support of small independent farmers in Israel.

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State Launches “Transparent Tennessee” Website

Governor Bill Haslam on Thursday announced the launch of “Transparent Tennessee,” an overhaul of the state’s transparency website to offer more user-friendly information online to Tennessee taxpayers.

Transparent Tennessee is a one-stop shop for searching public data on how state dollars are spent. The site includes a searchable checkbook with more interactive data related to state agency expenses, vendor payments and travel reimbursements.

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Tennessee DCS would charge $35,000 to provide public records

From TimesFreePress.com:  NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The state agency that oversees the welfare of Tennessee children is again at financial odds with news organizations seeking more information.

The Tennessean reported the Department of Children’s Services said this week that it would charge $34,952 to produce public records of children who died or nearly died during the past 11 months after having some contact with DCS.

 

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Fighting state-government transparency

From Thomson Reuters News & Insight:

At a time when advocates are pushing for more transparency in government, two states are fighting in court to limit citizens' access to public documents.

Virginia and Tennessee are defending their local versions of the Freedom of Information Act which allow them to respond only to public records requests from in-state residents — and deny requests from out-of-staters.

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