The Michigan Coalition for Open Government is a nonprofit, statewide group that educates citizens about their right to access public records, attend public meetings and watchdog their local and state governments, school boards and other public bodies. The coalition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All membership dues and donations to the coalition are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Please consult your tax adviser.
We are committed to securing, protecting, expanding and maintaining the people’s right to know what goes on within its governments. That’s why we formed.
The Michigan coalition supports the efforts of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, based at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.
MiCOG’s efforts are also vital in supporting the efforts of journalists throughout the state to perform their watchdog role. News organizations across the United States have drastically trimmed budgets as they struggle to survive the economic recession, significant declines in advertising, circulation and viewership and attempt to forge new identities in a drastically shifting online landscape. One cost-cutting measure has been to pull back from the traditional watchdog role of media by severely curtailing the hiring of legal counsel that in the past would enforce public records (freedom of information) and public access requests in court. Without legal representation, many efforts by journalists to report and publish important news has been seriously hampered. The problem is particularly critical for smaller daily and weekly newspapers. MiCOG’s leadership works with like-minded groups to encourage and expand openness in governments.
MiCOG is the official clearinghouse that reviews and recommends financial support from the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) for freedom of information, open meetings and other public access litigation. Michigan residents and news organizations are now eligible to access some of the $2 million the Knight Foundation gave the NFOIC to fund worthwhile open access litigation. If the plaintiff prevails and recovers attorney fees and court costs (as mandated by the Michigan freedom of information and open meetings laws), that money will be refunded to the national group to keep the coffers full for future lawsuits. The state group makes the recommendation to the national group for funding.