WashCOG pursues State Redistricting Commission lawsuit in trial court

The Washington Coalition for Open Government will pursue in Thurston County Superior Court its open meetings lawsuit against the Washington State Redistricting Commission for flagrantly violating state transparency laws.

The Washington state Supreme Court on Thursday declined to bypass the trial court and hear the case directly. The question before the state’s highest court was a matter of venue rather than the merits of the case.

WashCOG sued the Redistricting Commission to protect the integrity of the state Open Public Meetings Act, hold the commission accountable and seek remedies that prevent future commissions from similar violations. Citizens need to see commission deliberations to understand how public officials arrive at their collective decisions. Only then can citizens determine whether officials acted wisely on the public’s behalf.

Click here for full news release and court documents

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WashCOG welcomes donations

The Coalition turns 20 in 2022 and our anniversary will be a time of reflection and thoughtful determination, with new possibilities and opportunities. We have never wavered from our resolve to make all levels of government in our state the most transparent in the nation. But make no mistake, transparency is at a crossroads. We must make sure we are all moving in the right direction.  THE PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW remains a steadfast founding principle of the Coalition.

Part of ensuring that people have access to government information is making our voices heard. The best, most effective way to make your voice heard on transparency issues is to make a tax-deductible contribution to WashCOG. Please remember, our board members put in hundreds of hours on PRA cases, issues, education, and policies each month without compensation and we need your help to do this work.  Learn more about our plans and make a donation. Thank you!

Sunshine Breakfast set for March 2022

The Coalition has postponed its 2021 Sunshine Breakfast and Awards event until March 18, 2022 at T-Mobile Park. The event will take place during Sunshine Week and the 20th anniversary year of the founding of the Washington Coalition for Open Government.

Honorees include longtime WashCOG president Toby Nixon, who will receive the James Madison Award; Ed Clark, a 10-year member of the WCOG board, with the James Andersen Award; and The Seattle Times will receive the Ken Bunting Award.

Reservations and sponsorships are available.


Madison-Andersen-Bunting Award Winners

Click the accordion bars below for more information about the latest honorees


Toby Nixon

Toby Nixon, longtime president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, is the recipient of the 2021 James Madison Award in recognition to his ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability in government, through his service with the Coalition and beyond.

Nixon is currently president emeritus of the Coalition, after serving as WashCOG president from 2007 to 2021. Under his leadership, the organization has grown into one of the most effective state coalitions in the country.

“He personifies the spirit of citizen activism and vigilance that has been essential to resist the forces that work against openness and transparency,” said Mike Fancher, current president and longtime board member.  See additional information about Toby Nixon here.

Ed Clark, a 10-year member of the board of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, is being honored with the 2021 James Andersen Award for his outstanding service to the organization.

“Ed is the person behind the scenes who keeps everything moving,” said Mike Fancher, president of the WashCOG board. “He solves problems before they become problems. He has been a vocal and tireless supporter of WCOG’s mission.”

Clark is executive professional of Clark, Raymond & Co., the firm he cofounded in 1991, and which is also recognized with this award for the many ways in which it supports the coalition’s mission, Fancher noted.  See additional information about Ed Clark here.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government is presenting its 2021 Bunting Award to the staff of The Seattle Times for aggressively reporting on the city of Seattle’s mishandling of public records and for holding public officials to account – to the point of suing City Hall.

In May 2021, an investigation prompted by a whistleblower complaint disclosed that months of the mayor’s text messages were missing and her office had mishandled public records and requests for disclosure.

Over the next eight weeks The Times published an additional five news stories, an editorial and a column on the city’s flawed public records operation. The news stories broke new ground, while the opinion pieces provided interpretation and meaning. Learn more about the Times’ coverage and read its reports here. 


Transparency and public participation are building blocks of good government.

The Coalition was formed to act as an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated promoting and defending the People’s right to know in matters of public interest and in the conduct of the public’s business. The Coalition’s driving vision is to help foster open government processes, supervised by an informed and engaged citizenry, which is the cornerstone of democracy.

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