The bad news – FOG’s hotline is ringing off the hook with serious complaints of repeated public records violations. The good news – FOG has nearly reached our goal to raise $300,000 in “seed” money to bring on a staff attorney. As of today, in cash and pledges from our generous supporters, FOG has secured nearly $296,000. We’re asking for your gift to help take us over the top!
FOG works to create a more transparent, ethical, and representative government in New Mexico by increasing disclosure, accountability, and public participation at all levels of government throughout our state. Hiring a sunshine attorney will double FOG’s capacity and be a game-changer for open government!
FOG’s core mission is to educate, advocate, and when necessary, litigate to defend the public’s right to know. Despite the strength of our state’s sunshine laws – the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA), some elected officials and government staff still regularly ignore the law. And sometimes, a lawsuit is the only effective recourse.
When citizens, journalists, business leaders or others need help gaining access to public information wrongfully shielded from public view, they currently have few channels available to them. Complaints logged with the Attorney General’s office often go ignored or are delayed and slow to produce results. The FOG hotline provides advice and can often encourage public officials to reconsider denying records and do the right thing. However, without a dedicated attorney, FOG often must call on our volunteer legal panel, who has limited capacity, because all members of the panel have full-time jobs. Citizens across New Mexico who need help accessing public records or public meetings will benefit from a sunshine attorney at their fingertips.
For more than three decades, FOG has conducted its crucial work with a bare-bones budget, skeleton staff, and panel of pro-bono attorneys. A dedicated sunshine attorney will be instrumental in ensuring FOG can more meaningfully defend the public’s right to know. We appreciate your support!