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Governance: is guided by a Steering Committee (members listed below). A subset - the two co-chairs and three steering committee members - are appointed to the Executive Committee which provides day-to-day guidance, as needed, to the Director and assists in the development of an annual budget which is brought before the full committee for approval. Subcommittees include a nominations committee and ad hoc committees and working groups as needed.

Read the Strategic Operational Plan

The Steering Committee meets monthly by conference call. Minutes are available.

Statement of Values Statement of Values

Organizations and individuals are invited to sign the statement of values.

To protect the safety and well-being of our families, homes, and communities; to hold our government accountable; and to defend the freedoms upon which our democracy depends; we, the undersigned individuals and organizations, believe the public has a right to information held by our government.

The American way of life demands that government operate in the open to be responsive to the public, to foster trust and confidence in government, and to encourage public participation in civic and government institutions.

The public's right to know promotes equal and equitable access to government, encourages integrity in official conduct, and prevents undisclosed and undue influence from special interests. seeks to advance the public's right to know and to reduce secrecy in government.

Steering Committee Members

Accessed January 2009: [1]

Funding Sources

This coalition is made possible by the generous support of:




Flash animation

  • Democracy in Jeopardy(2007) - Join James Madison, Ms. Public, and George W. Bush in a flash video game show - Democracy in Jeopardy! - about government openness and secrecy. Links are provided for ways to take action to fight back against secrecy and promote openness.
  • Are We Safer in the Dark? (2006)

Sunshine Week Teleconference

  • Government Secrecy: Censoring Your Right To Know (March 2008) - This 90 minute progran hosted by, features a discussion of executive branch power and secrecy, congressional responsibilities, the role of the courts and of the public and public interest sector in combating government secrecy with Ann Beeson, Director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Institute, Mickey Edwards, Director of the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership, and John Podesta, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for American Progress (panel moderated by Patrice McDermott, Director of Also features a discussion with creators of websites that make hard-to-find government information -- federal, state and local -- easy for the public to find and use. Buy the DVD!
  • Closed Doors; Open Democracies? (March 2007) - Hosted at the National Press Club during Sunshine Week 2007, the 90-minute program titled "Closed Doors; Open Democracies?" focuses on access to government information, including the impact of government suppression and manipulation of scientific information on public health and safety - and accountability. The program starts with a lively discussion of the issues and end with ideas for action. Buy the DVD!
  • Are We Safer in the Dark? (March 2006) During the 90-minute national teleconference, speakers & video segments ask: •Do federal laws such as the Freedom of Information Act fulfill their promise to guarantee openness in government? How do laws passed and policies/regulations implemented since 9/11 encourage secrecy or openness? •How does transparency affect the government's readiness and response to disasters such as Sago Mines and Hurricane Katrina? What about the public's ability to plan and respond - or to prevent disasters? •What tools and resources work effectively in safeguarding the public's ability to hold government accountable? Broadcast from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Buy the DVD!

Secrecy Report Card - A quantitative looks at government secrecy

Decisions Without Democracy - With People For the American Way Foundation, report documents the Executive branch has expanded authority and diminished accountability

Contact Us
1742 Connecticut Ave NW
3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-OPEN (6736)

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. About,, accessed January 10, 2009.