Transparency at UNM Foundation a victory for open/good government

An important decision just came down from a three-judge New Mexico Court of Appeals panel with the opinion written by Judge Megan Duffy in a case the Rio Grande Foundation has been tracking for several years.

The judge ruled that records generated by UNM’s Foundation are indeed public. This is an interesting case for Rio Grande Foundation because:

1) We strongly believe in donor privacy; but

2) UNM’s Foundation operates as an arm of a publicly-funded university. The ability to shift activities from a public to a private wing of the University is an attractive tool for keeping information that SHOULD be public, private instead.

3) There is nothing wrong with UNM having a foundation arm, but when you are dealing with a combination of public and private money, you can’t skirt the law by hiding it within the Foundation;

4) The Rio Grande Foundation does not accept taxpayer funding.

You can listen to an interview RGF’s president did with Daniel Libit, the man behind the lawsuit here.

Open Government, Office of Privacy and Open Government, U.S. Department of  Commerce