Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government Inc

Helping to make Kansas government open and transparent

aka Kansas Coalition for Open Government, Inc.   |   Topeka, KS   |  kcog.us

Mission

To promote educational programs and publications to explain the importance of open government, engaging in efforts to strengthen existing open meetings and open records laws, monitoring legislative attempts to weaken citizen access to government and establishing a hotline for members and citizens to access when they encounter violations of these laws.

Notes from the nonprofit

Kansas is mired in a systemic culture of secrecy and nondisclosure that unreasonably hinders the public from learning what it needs to know about matters in the public interest. The public's right to know is central to KCOG's mission to make Kansas government more open and transparent.

Ruling year info

2015

President

Max Kautsch

Main address

214 SW 6th Ave

Topeka, KS 66603 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government Inc

EIN

48-1224557

NTEE code info

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

A former legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, Doug Bonney, summed up how Kansas governmental entities generally view the concept of open government. In the Kansas City Star’s award-winning 2017 series, Why So Secret, Kansas?, Bonney said, “It’s something about Kansas; I don’t know what it is exactly,” he told the paper. “But Kansas is overly worried about information becoming public. If it’s not the least transparent state in the Union, it’s close to it.” KCOG's mission is to educate Kansans about how a transparent government is essential to a democracy.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Legislative Watchdog

KCOG tracks all bills proposed by the Kansas Legislature during the legislative session that impact open records, open meetings, and open courts. We post blog entries on our website highlighting the most impactful bills.

Population(s) Served

Occasionally, KCOG will weigh in on legal matters by filing legal briefs, ordinarily on matters being heard by the Kansas appellate courts. Criteria KOCG considers before filing in a matter include:
a. Whether the issue under consideration has a strong legal basis indicating a high likelihood of ultimate success on the merits.
b. Any judicial decision that results from the litigation must be likely to advance the cause generally of open government or freedom of expression.
c. The litigation must be in the public interest rather than further narrow private interests.
d. The case raises unique legal questions that, if addressed, could help resolve existing ambiguities in Kansas law or further the development of Kansas law in the areas of open government or freedom of speech and press.
e. The litigation could end a pattern of undue denial of access to government information or interference with freedom of speech or press.

Population(s) Served
Activists

KCOG's website and legal hotline are the go-to resources for members of the public to learn about government transparency in Kansas. We offer training seminars to government agencies and nonprofit organizations interested in learning about open records and open meetings laws in Kansas.

Population(s) Served
Academics
Academics
Activists
Academics
Activists

KCOG meets with policymakers and educates legislators about open government law in Kansas.

Population(s) Served
Academics
Activists
Academics
Activists

KCOG writes op-eds and serves as a source for journalists reporting on open government issues in Kansas.

Population(s) Served
Academics
Activists
Academics
Activists

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

National Freedom of Information Coalition 1999

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of meetings or briefings held with policymakers or candidates

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Academics, Activists

Related Program

Policy Driver

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Beginning in 2023, KCOG plans to engage with policymakers at 2018-2019 levels.

Number of legal briefs written

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Academics, Activists

Related Program

Transparency Litigator

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Opportunities to weigh in on legal issues as intervenor or amicus curia are few and far between, but KCOG is always on the lookout for cases impacting transparency.

Number of policy guidelines or proposals developed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Academics, Activists

Related Program

Policy Driver

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of stories successfully placed in the media

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Academics, Activists

Related Program

Transparency Journalist

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

KCOG increases public awareness of transparency issues by writing op-eds and servings as sources for journalists throughout the state. 2022 is on track to be our most active year yet.

Number of briefings or presentations held

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Academics, Activists

Related Program

Transparency Educator

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

KCOG's two open government training seminars in 2022 were successful trial runs for more seminars going forward.

Number of requests for advocate products or information, including downloads or page views of online material

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Activists, Academics

Related Program

Transparency Educator

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

KCOG serves as the go-to educational resource for open government issues for both members of the public and governing bodies.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Educate members of the public and government agencies about government transparency. Educate legislators about the benefits of amending Kansas laws to promote transparency. Suggest public policy that promotes transparency though publications and broadcasts on the internet and through traditional media. Litigate on behalf of members of the public to promote government transparency.

Provide open government hotline services and maintain an informational website. Draft opinions on legislative proposals. File legal briefs on behalf of members of the public or the media. Publish and broadcast news and opinion related to promoting open government. Provide open government training seminars.

At its quarterly meetings, KCOG's Board of Directors determines how to meet its policy objectives.

KCOG has been a crucial component of the legal landscape in Kansas since 1999, when it was formed to educate legislators in advance of amendments to the Kansas Open Records Act that became effective in 2000. The Coalition was also involved in educating legislators about the benefits of shield law for journalists, which became law in 2010. Then, in 2014, KOCG met with policymakers and educated the legislature regarding the benefits related to presumptive access to probable cause affidavits in criminal cases, and the law was amended to provide for access that year. And in 2018, the Coalition played a crucial rule in educating legislators about the benefits of disclosing body camera footage to the subjects of that footage and their families; those benefits were recognized when the legislature amended the law to allow for mandatory disclosure of such video within 20 days.

Financials

Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government Inc

Board of directors
as of 09/19/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

President Max Kautsch

Kansas Coalition for Open Government

Term: 2022 - 2022

Emily Bradbury

Kansas Press Association

Allison Mazzei

Kansas Association of Broadcasters

Jill Quigley

League of Women Voters

Kim Wilhelm

KWCH

Doug Anstaett

Kansas Press Association

Kent Cornish

Kansas Association of Broadcasters

Davis Hammet

Loud Light

Mackenzie Clark

Lawrence Times

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/9/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/09/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.