Open Public Records: The Fountain of Truth

The Coalition for Sensible Public Records Access (CSPRA) is a non‐profit organization dedicated to promoting the principle of open public record access to ensure individuals, the press, advocates, and businesses the continued freedom to collect and use the information made available in the public record for personal, commercial, and societal benefit. It is CSPRA’s belief that the records of how our society governs itself at all levels and manner of government ought to be open and accessible to all. The primary exception to this principle is the handful of specific situations where the privacy interest of the subject of such records substantially outweighs the public right to know. To allow access to be thwarted by mere concerns over individual embarrassment or need to control one’s image is to reduce the truth to individual possession instead of being a good held in common by the whole. As James Madison wisely noted, those who mean to govern themselves must be armed with knowledge. This paper addresses truth and its promise as found in public records. It also challenges the growing numbers of those who would attack the truth and favor a society veiled in secrecy. It is CSPRA’s belief that a society organized toward freedom and prosperity has an interest in seeing truth protected.

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