Open Secrets

JUNE 23 ISSUES & IDEAS FORUM

Wielding Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act

FEATURING: Ron Dzwonkowski, Detroit Free Press Associate Editor and
Ken Braun, Director of the Mackinac Center's Show Michigan the Money Project

DATE: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

TIME: Noon - 1 p.m.

LOCATION: The Mackinac Room, 5th Floor, House Office Building
124 North Capitol, Lansing

COST: Lunch is provided at no charge with reservation.

“We might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant's books, so that every member of Congress and every man of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them. Our predecessors have endeavored by intricacies of system and shuffling the investigation over from one office to another, to cover everything from detection.” — President Thomas Jefferson, 1802

In 1976, two powerful weapons against abuses of public power and the public purse were placed in the hands of Michigan residents: The state’s Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act. The spirit of these laws is that the people “shall be informed so that they may fully participate in the democratic process.”

Technological advances have made it easier than ever for public officials to accommodate these open records laws, and the people of Michigan have benefited. Yet today, as in Jefferson’s time, there are public officials who create “intricacies of system and shuffling.”

Veteran journalist Ron Dzwonkowski will discuss what public officials, the media and everyday citizen-activists can do to make sure more of the people’s business is accessible. Associate editor of the Detroit Free Press, Dzwonkowski has been covering and writing about Michigan since 1973. Ken Braun, director of the Mackinac Center’s Show Michigan the Money project, has been encouraging elected officials, school districts and government entities to make information available on the Internet for public inspection.

The luncheon begins at noon. To make reservations, please call the Mackinac Center at 989-631-0900 by 5 p.m. on June 19, 2009 or by .

The Purpose of the Issues & Ideas Forum

The nature of the legislative process is such that public policy debates are often framed by specific constituencies and political pragmatism rather than by sound principles. By offering a forum for wide-ranging discussion, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy hopes to broaden the debate to include theoretical and philosophical ideals — and how to achieve them. The best interests of Michigan residents can be served only when legislation incorporates our best understanding of legal, economic, psychological, moral and scientific principles.

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