Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Goldwater Institute Named "Best Capitol Watchdog" for Second Year

Policy organization truly is man's best friend
Phoenix--For the second year in a row, the Goldwater Institute has been named Arizona's "Best Capitol Watchdog" by Arizona Capitol Times readers.

"If this award makes even one shady elected official break out in a cold sweat, we've done our job. Freedom needs a knight, and we're honored to lead the charge," said Darcy Olsen, president & CEO of the Goldwater Institute. "There are many extraordinary people working to keep government in check, and we couldn't be happier to be counted among them."

Founded in 1988 with the blessing of Senator Barry Goldwater, the Goldwater Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy research organization. A good watchdog is always on guard and one of the ways the Goldwater Institute keeps lawmakers on their toes is with its annual Legislative Report Card. By examining hundreds of votes cast on bills covering education, regulation, and tax and budget issues, the Goldwater Institute grades lawmakers on how well they adhere to the principles of limited government and the Arizona Constitution.

In 2007 the Institute added a litigation division to enforce and defend taxpayers' rights in the courts with the Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. So far the Goldwater Institute has successfully defended the first amendment rights of Oro Valley blogger Art Segal, protected the curricular autonomy of Arizona charter schools, and enforced the state constitution's ban on corporate subsidies with a unanimous decision in the Arizona Court of Appeals prohibiting the City of Phoenix from giving a $100 million subsidy to a shopping mall developer.

The Goldwater Institute is also known for exposing wasteful government spending, like subsidized massages for state employees, and publishing reports that provide comprehensive spending figures in budget areas such as public school finance.

After two decades the Goldwater Institute continues to evolve, demonstrating you can teach an old dog new tricks. The Institute is embracing emerging social networking by taking advantage of websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and later this year Goldwater will bring an investigative reporter on board to uncover abuses of taxpayer funds and public corruption.

The Arizona Capitol Times' "Best Capitol Watchdog" award is part of its third annual "Best of the Capitol Awards." The award will officially be presented to the Goldwater Institute on March 24 at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in downtown Phoenix. To see winners in other "Best of the Capitol" categories, including Barry Goldwater, who won "Arizona Historical Figure You'd Like to Talk To" for the third year, click here.

The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

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