SGI “Sunshine in Government Award” Honors
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz
For Leadership to Make FOIA Work Better
In honor of Sunshine Week, the Sunshine in Government Initiative (SGI) is pleased to honor House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who is the 2016 recipient of the SGI Sunshine in Government Award (“Sunshine Award”) for his commitment and work to strengthen open government. The award was announced at the Newseum Institute’s Freedom of Information Day Conference in Washington, DC.
The Sunshine in Government Award was created to honor individuals who have made a significant contribution over time to open government at the federal level. SGI chooses honorees based on several criteria: Each recipient contributes significantly to the public’s understanding of open government laws or how these laws impact people’s everyday lives, protects the public’s rights under open government laws such as the Freedom of Information Act; and serves in government making current, concrete and oftentimes unrecognized contributions to protecting or strengthening open government.
In particular, the selection committee was impressed with Chairman Chaffetz’s efforts to highlight the importance and limits of the federal Freedom of Information Act, provide clear-eyed oversight of FOIA programs, and successfully shepherd FOIA reform legislation through the U.S. House of Representatives.
Chairman Chaffetz could not attend the conference but made pre-recorded remarks. The award itself is a handsome clear sculptured obelisk reflecting the importance of transparency in government.
The Sunshine in Government Initiative is a coalition of media groups committed to promoting policies that ensure the government is accessible, accountable and open. Public oversight is the ultimate safeguard of democracy. It is the inalienable right of citizens to examine and judge their government; and that right is served when news media act on behalf of the public to gain access to information.