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Congratulations to 2018 Madison and Cooke Award Winners: Reps. Darrell Issa and Mike Quigley, and Florida’s First Amendment Foundation

* NOTE: This post has been updated as of Tuesday, March 20, 6:00 p.m. ALA’s Executive Board of Directors issued this update intended to document the source and original intent of the Madison Award and to identify next steps for future awards. 

Saturday, March 10, 11:15 a.m.: Thank you for your feedback about yesterday’s James Madison Award ceremony. In December, ALA invited nominations for the James Madison Award and the Eileen Cooke Award on behalf of ALA. Staff from the Washington Office reviewed member suggestions and selected recipients and sought further review of award candidates from ALA members in Florida, Illinois and California. Awardees were selected, in line with the descriptions of the award, which “recognizes an individual or group who has championed, protected, or promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know at the national level.” With regard to the Madison Award, Representatives Quigley and Issa have been bipartisan leaders on several of ALA’s key government information efforts, including co-founding and co-chairing the Congressional Transparency Caucus together. Representative Issa led the successful enactment of the bipartisan FOIA Improvement Act and the DATA Act. Rep. Quigley also advocated for the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act and the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act.

This year’s James Madison Award goes to U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Mike Quigley (D-IL). The Eileen Cooke Award goes to Florida’s First Amendment Foundation. Both awards honor individuals or organizations who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know how it functions.

Today ALA President Jim Neal presented the 2018 awards during a National Sunshine Week preview event that will livestreamed at 12:00 noon (ET) from the Newseum’s Knight TV Studio in Washington, D.C.

headshots of Darrell Issa and Mike Quigley
U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) and Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) are the 2018 Madison Award recipients.

This marks the 30th year ALA has presented the James Madison Award. As co-founders and co-chairs of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, Representatives Issa and Quigley have shown bipartisan leadership to ensure the core democratic value of government transparency is more than just an ideal in Washington. In addition to co-founding the Transparency Caucus, both Congressmen have introduced legislation that requires federal information to be freely accessible, and advocated for new initiatives that support transparency, including:

  • FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2016, updating the 50-year-old Freedom of Information Act; introduced by Rep. Issa and enacted in 2016
  • Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA), introduced in 2013 by Rep. Issa, enacted in 2014
  • Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, introduced by Rep. Quigley in 2017
  • Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act of 2017 (H.R. 2335), cosponsored by Rep. Quigley
First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen will accept the Eileen Cooke Award on behalf of the Foundation. (AP Photo/Phil Coale)

The Eileen Cooke Award, named after past ALA Washington Office Director, will be presented to Florida First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen. Its small staff is known throughout the state as a tireless powerhouse of information and inspiration that equips its vast network of local advocates to hold their government accountable. The Foundation was founded in 1984 by The Florida Press Association, the Florida Society of Newspapers Editors and the Florida Association of Broadcasters to ensure public commitment and progress in the areas of free speech, free press, and open government. A highly visible source of information and expertise in Florida, the Foundation holds numerous educational events for government officials, citizen action groups and journalists and regularly publishes a variety of resources on Florida’s sunshine laws.

Happy Sunshine Week (March 12-16)!

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Gavin Baker

Gavin Baker is an assistant director of Government Relations. He advocates for library priorities on government information and transparency issues. Previously, he worked at California Common Cause, the Center for Effective Government / OMB Watch and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. Gavin earned his M.S. in library and information studies from Florida State University and his B.A. in political science from the University of Florida.

10 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Elizabeth

    You are bad at your jobs and you should feel bad.

  2. Lisa Hinchliffe Lisa Hinchliffe

    As a librarian in Illinois, please advise who represented me in this review process so that I may communicate my concerns, member to member. Thank you.

  3. Jane Cothron Jane Cothron

    How did you come to the idea of giving an award to Darrell Issa? Didn’t he work to stop funding the EPA and thus end access to their information? How is this supporting access? What were you thinking?

  4. Colleen S. Harris Colleen S. Harris

    As a librarian in California and as someone well aware of the stances Issa has taken on information issues counter to our values. I’d like to know who to contact to communicate my disappointment and concern that the Washington Office appears not to be paying attention to policy in Washington. Cherry picking one or two items when his tenure has been consistently counter to our values is lazy at best, and actively damaging to our approach to policy.

  5. Loren Loren

    Darrell Issa, well even a quick Google reveals that he holds positions in favor of discrimination against LGBT people, against access to healthcare including reproductive care, in favor of the jailing and deportation of immigrants, including the parents of minor children who are US citizens, and many many other odious policies and positions that hurt our patrons. This is a symptom of the lack of “neutrality” in the library profession. Free speech that “hears both sides” seems to always mean that we give more space to right wing bigots than they already get in the national media and government. People roll their eyes at libraries and this is a symptom of why.

  6. While I generally appreciate the work the Washington Office does, I am very displeased that the award to Issa seems to not have gone through a basic “reality check” to look at some of his more library-controversial opinions. If you are giving this award despite these (for some reason) it’s worth letting membership know that. As it is this just seems like an embarrassing mistake or oversight.

  7. […] week the Washington Office announced that the 2018 recipients of the James Madison Award were two members of Congress: Mike Quigley and […]

  8. Mary Ahlman Mary Ahlman

    Congressman Darrell Issa has promoted literacy in education by connecting books from a government source to elementary schools and middle school students. We want students who have intelligent critical thinking skills, don’t we? Reading books across a broad spectrum of award-winning books helps students to think critically and form their own opinions.

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