Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

A nonprofit organization

$4,720 Raised by 32 Donors

94% complete

$5,000 Goal



Legal Efforts

The media coalition that we helped create a few years ago fought for public access to the Wetterling investigative files and the Mohammad Noor trial. With the Derek Chauvin trial in 2021, the coalition broadened to include many national and international media organizations.  It persuaded the judge that live streaming audio and video from the trial was the best way for the public to see its justice system in action. That push for public access to the courts is continuing with the upcoming trial of the other three former Minneapolis police officers.

Now, the Minnesota Supreme Court is revisiting its current rules which usually prohibit cameras in the court prior to the sentencing phase of a trial. We hope the successful broadcasts of the Chauvin trial will help open Minnesota’s courts to the broadcast of many more criminal trials. We will be seeking every opportunity to make that hope a reality.

In addition we are the lead plaintiff in an effort to secure public access to Minneapolis police disciplinary files which we believe the Minneapolis City Attorney has inappropriately kept secret. We expect and planning a legislative initiative to stop Minneapolis police and the Minnesota State Patrol from the destruction of public records as they during the riots and other civil unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd.  We hope we can get a legislative fix to prevent the future destruction of current public records by local and state police. 

Education and Outreach 

We are also continuing our public education efforts to show people how to use the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act -- and, in the process, to keep Minnesota government entities transparent and accountable. Each year MNCOGI celebrates Freedom of Information Day by presenting the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information award and the John Borger Lifetime Achievement award in the spirit of Mr. Finnegan’s and Mr. Borger’s demonstrated leadership and commitment to the freedom of information and its power to effect change. This year, two teams received this year’s John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award: The Mapping Prejudice Project and Hennepin County, working in partnership, documented the widespread use of racial covenants in property deeds restricting ownership to Caucasians from 1910 to 1955; and Barry LaGrave, Director of Minnesota House Public Information Services, and Steve Senyk, Director of Minnesota Senate Media Services, made significant contributions to open government in Minnesota by leading their respective offices to provide legislative information as the pandemic forced reductions in physical public access to state government.

Occasionally, we also bestow the John R. Borger Lifetime Achievement Award for a significant body of accomplishments that advance and preserve the public’s right to government transparency. MNCOGI’s John Borger Lifetime Achievement Award is named for the First Amendment attorney whose significant body of accomplishments helped to advance and preserve the public’s right to government transparency. 

MNCOGI welcomes your support as we put our resources and yours to work to make government information more publicly available and as accessible as possible. 

About the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (MNCOGI)

MNCOGI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to the public’s right to know, the promotion of public access to government information and transparency of government operations. MNCOGI Board members are Jim Barnum, Nick Borger, Helen Burke, Bill Bushey, Hal Davis, Secretary; Pat Doyle, Matt Ehling, Treasurer; Don Gemberling, Nancy Herther, Gary Hill, Chair; Jane Kirtley, Isabella Nascimento, Paul Ostrow, Sharon Schmickle Adrienne Vitt and Tony Webster.  For more information about MNCOGI, please visit our website at http://www.mncogi.org

Image of the Minnesota State Capitol is the work of Wikipedia user McGhiever.

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Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

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1539 Grand Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55105

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