BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation has been honored by the Washington Coalition for Open Government (WCOG) for its successful lawsuit against the City of Seattle over public records access.
WCOG President Toby Nixon visited the SAF offices in Bellevue to present the award to SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, SAF General Counsel Miko Tempski, whose law firm specializes in open records requests, and SAF Special Projects Director Philip Watson. In early 2013, Watson filed a request for information from the city about its 2013 gun buyback project, and when the documents were not forthcoming, Tempski filed a lawsuit that forced the city to disclose the documents, apologize and promise to change its policies. In addition, the city had to pay SAF legal fees totaling $38,000.
“We are extremely proud of this award,” Gottlieb observed, “because it was unanimously approved by a diverse WCOG board of directors. It is gratifying when people who may not agree with us politically recognize the importance of holding government responsible for transparency. The public has a right to know how its money is spent and how its elected representatives and their staffs respond to people.”
He said when government hides information from the public or is sloppy in providing information, citizens are the ultimate losers.
“The goal all along in our effort,” Watson added, “was to find out about the process that went into this gun buyback. When it became obvious that the city, under former Mayor Mike McGinn, had not produced all the information we sought, there was only one course of action, and we took it.”
“Government must be held accountable when it fails in its responsibility,” Tempski said. “If it takes a lawsuit to accomplish that, we are prepared. It should not have to come to that point.”