Join on March 14 to Celebrate Sunshine Week at the Newseum

In conjunction with our friends at the Newseum Institute, we are pleased to invite you to help us kick-off Sunshine Week 2014 at the National Freedom of Information Day Celebration on Friday, March 14. You can join live at the Newseum reserve your seat now by registering online or via webcast

The first panel will commemorate's 10th Anniversary, with a look at the coalition's past and future. Gene Policinski, COO of the Newseum Institute, will interview:

  • Gary Bass, Executive Director, Bauman Foundation
  • Tom Blanton,  Director, National Security Archive at George Washington University
  • Rick Blum, Coordinator, Sunshine in Government Initiative
  • Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight
  • Patrice McDermott, Executive Director,

For the second panel at this year's event, OTG and SGI will bring together reporters and policy-makers to talk about the 1971 break-in to the Media, PA FBI Field Office and the current leaks of information about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, the effects on society in these cases, and resulting reforms in intelligence policy and practice. It will run from 9:45am to 11:30am. 

The panel will include:

  • Spencer Ackerman, National Security editor and reporter for the Guardian US. Mr. Ackerman is a former Senior Editor at Wired, and received the 2012 National Magazine Award for Digital Reporting. 
  • John Elliff, leader of the 1975 Church Committee's domestic intelligence task force, and author of The Reform of FBI Domestic Intelligence Operations. Mr. Eliff has held Defense Department and Intelligence Community positions for protection of classified information, and worked on the first USA PATRIOT Act when detailed to Senator Leahy's Judiciary Committee staff in 2002.
  • Bart Forsyth, Chief of Staff to Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. Mr. Forsyth graduated magna cum laude from Washington and Lee University School of Law. After a year at the Department of Labor, he served as Counsel and Deputy Chief Counsel to the House Foreign Affairs Committee under Chairman Henry Hyde. He then served as oversight counsel to the House Science Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. Before assuming the position of Chief of Staff to Congressman Sensenbrenner, Mr. Forsyth served as Chief of Staff to the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. 
  • Betty Medsger, a former reporter for The Washington Post whose reporting based on the stolen FBI documents revealed some of the FBI's efforts to spy on civil rights leaders and other activists. She is the author of The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI.
  • Abbe Lowell (moderator), Partner at Chadbourne & Parke LLC; Mr. Lowell has defended several high profile defendants charged with violating the Espionage Act by trafficking in government secrets. Mr. Lowell has served as counsel to the House of Representatives and previously served at the US Department of Justice.  He is currently also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

As in year's past, the event will also include the presentation of the James Madison Award by the American Library Association. The Madison Award recognizes individuals or groups that have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public's right to know.

From 12:50pm to 1:50pm, the Sunshine in Government Initiative will present a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) update from Congress and the Administration, featuring:

  • Ali Ahmad, Majority Staff, House Oversight and Government       Reform Committee 
  • Krista Boyd, Minority Staff, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
  • Corinna Zarek, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Kevin Goldberg (moderator), American Society of News Editors


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