Contact: Frank DiFulvio
For Immediate Release
March 14, 2003
American Library Association presents James Madison Award to former U.S. Congressman Steve Horn
Arlington County honored for public access to government information
(Washington, D.C.) The American Library Association (ALA) today is proud to present the 14th annual James Madison Award to former U.S. Congressman Steve Horn. ALA President-elect Carla D. Hayden will present the award at the National Freedom of Information (FOI) Day Conference, sponsored by the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center in cooperation with the ALA.
Horn (R-Calif.) has had a long and distinguished career as the representative from the 38th District of California and as Chair of the Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations of the House Committee on Government Reform. He has spoken out against both the abuse of secrecy by executive branch agencies and the willingness of many Congressional committees to ignore their duties and to allow such secrecy.
In 1996, Horn cosponsored legislation that expanded the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to include electronic information. In his capacity as Chair of the Government Efficiency, Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee, he held hearings on how fully government agencies were complying with e-FOIA in June 1998.
"Congressman Horn has been a fierce and fearless fighter in insisting that government agencies open their books to promote meaningful oversight, and sponsored and cosponsored many bills that increase oversight of federal agencies," Hayden said. "While we congratulate him on his retirement, he will be sorely missed at a time when free and open access to information is being gravely threatened."
In hearings on the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) refusal to submit a survey of their cyber-security, Horn stated, "The agency is assaulting Congress' constitutional responsibility to oversee executive branch activities. The CIA believes it is apparently above that basic principle in our Constitution. We do not agree."
The Madison Award, named for President James Madison, was established in 1986 and in recent years has been presented annually on the anniversary of his birth. The award honors those who have championed, protected, and promoted public access to government information and the public's right to know.
Hayden also honored the Government of Arlington County, Va., with a certificate of "Recognition of Significant Contribution to Public Access to Government Information." The county was honored for what is known as "the Arlington Way" - a tradition of local decision-making through a process of extensive discussion and community involvement.
"County officials have seized on the potential of the Internet to provide access to government information and, when needed in an emergency, to create on the fly the information residents require," Hayden said. "We honor this commitment to 'everyday democracy' through openness and proactive sharing of information."
The National Freedom of Information Day Conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Freedom Forum World Center, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.