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On March 16, we celebrate the anniversary of former President James Madison. But that day, we also celebrate the legacy he and the founders of this country left us – open government.

It is only natural that libraries, which promote open access to information for all, join in the celebration.

Each year, the American Library Association presents the James Madison Award on Freedom of Information Day to recognize those individuals or groups that have championed, protected, and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know.  This year’s James Madison Award goes to U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Mike Quigley (D-IL).

U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) and Mike Quigley (D-IL-5)

As co-founders and co-chairs of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, Representatives Issa and Quigley have shown bipartisan leadership to ensure the core democratic value of government transparency is more than just an ideal in Washington. In addition to co-founding the Transparency Caucus, both Congressmen have introduced legislation that requires federal information to be freely accessible, and advocated for new initiatives that support transparency, including:

  • FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2016, updating the 50-year-old Freedom of Information Act; introduced by Rep. Issa and enacted in 2016
  • Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA), introduced in 2013 by Rep. Issa, enacted in 2014
  • Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, introduced by Rep. Quigley in 2017
  • Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act of 2017 (H.R. 2335), cosponsored by Rep. Quigley