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Photo of Ken MartinThe Austin Bulldog publishes unique, original and fiercely independent reporting that holds the powers that be accountable.

There’s no paywall. We make our reporting available free to one and all. Reading our news is free. Producing it isn’t.

Toward the end of every year the Bulldog participates in an annual NewMatch fundraising drive in which a local and national sponsors match your contributions.

That’s when we ask readers to help us get more investigative reporting done by making tax-deductible contributions. We use PressPatron so it’s super easy to make a one-time donation or sign up to make sustaining monthly sustaining donations.

During the November-December 2020 campaign we received 108 donations totaling $11,143. With matches that delivered $34,089 to support our work in 2021.

We’re deeply grateful for your response and generous donations. We will do our absolute best to continue earning your support.

Ken Martin
Founder, editor and publisher

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Big Win for Public’s Right to Know

 Big Win for Public’s Right to Know

No more hiding identities of the public officials
who do government business on private e-mails

by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2016
Posted Monday April 11, 2016 2:09pm
Updated Tuesday April 12, 2016 10:54am (to add link to Corpus Christi Caller-Times coverage)
Updated Wednesday April 13, 2016 1:28pm (to add link to Watchdog.org Texas Bureau coverage)
Updated Thursday April 14, 2016 1:46pm (to add link to FierceGovernmentIT coverage)
Updated Wednesday April 20, 2016 3:07pm (to add link to FindLaw publication of opinion)

The 2011 City Council investigated by the county attorneyMore than five years after The Austin Bulldog filed a lawsuit against Mayor Lee Leffingwell, the other six council members, and the City of Austin, the Austin-based Third Court of Appeals on April 8, 2016, handed down a landmark legal decision. The court ruled that government officials are not “members of the public” and when they use private e-mail accounts to conduct public business they will forfeit the right to keep their e-mail addresses concealed from the public.

The Third Court’s ruling advances the public’s interest in holding government officials accountable. The decision is of vital interest in government and legal circles, and it triggered a front-page story in the Austin American-Statesman as well as articles in both the Texas Tribune and Law360.com, a national publication covering the legal industry.

The decision serves notice to elected officials and others in government service that they ought to do the public’s business through their government-issued e-mail addresses—and not hide public information by using personal accounts.

Joseph Larsen“Any time a public official uses a private e-mail account for public business—that’s highly suspect,” said Attorney Joseph Larsen, special counsel to Sedgwick Law in Houston and a board member of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

Decision will have wide impact


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