Thursday, August 28, 2008

Goldwater Institute: 116 Candidates Sign Open Government Pledge

Goldwater Institute asks all candidates to support government transparency

More than 100 candidates running for office in Arizona this year are committed to making government more transparent. 116 incumbents and challengers running for almost every office, from every county, and from across the political spectrum, signed a pledge to prove their commitment to open government.

"In this contentious election year, open government is one issue where we see some welcome common ground among divergent candidates," said Darcy Olsen, president of the Goldwater Institute. "The candidates who signed this pledge take seriously the idea that the government belongs to the people. We're encouraged that candidates across the political spectrum support this bedrock principle of democracy."

The Goldwater Institute asked every person running for nearly every elected office in Arizona to sign the pledge, which states that the candidate will abide by Arizona's open meeting and records laws and would support requiring detailed information on all government contracts and financial transactions be posted online.

Despite the enthusiastic response to the Goldwater Institute's first ever Open Government Pledge, roughly 80 percent of candidates did not sign the pledge. "Arizona's open meetings and open records laws don't go nearly far enough in opening the books on government," continued Ms. Olsen. "Let's hope the refusal to sign this pledge by so many candidates isn't a canary in the coal mine."

On the last day of the 2008 legislative session, a bill passed that will require state agency spending to be posted in an online database. This was a positive first step, but more work remains to be done. The database won't be implemented until 2011 and it doesn't apply to local and county government spending. The Goldwater Institute supports requiring government offices, commissions, and agencies from the local level up to the state level to post their spending online.

To read the Open Government Pledge and see who signed it go to

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