Disclosing Calendars of Elected Officials

The following statement may be attributed to Kevin Keenan, Executive Director, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.

The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties strongly supports principles of open government and public disclosure. A threshold duty of democratic government is to be open and accountable to the people. Since its founding, the ACLU has litigated countless cases to vindicate this fundamental value.

In politics, access is often the principal currency of power. The people have a right to know who enjoys access to and possible influence with elected officials.

Though some protection of the deliberative process may be appropriate, disclosure of who meets with an official does not jeopardize proper decision-making in a democracy. Those who seek access to elected officials should not expect such access to be secret.

If there are legitimate privacy or security concerns involved in disclosing an official’s calendar, elected officials may address them through limited redaction, for instance, of a person’s home address or telephone number, or by disclosure of meetings after they occur. If there are concerns about compliance with ethics rules, they may be addressed by ensuring disclosure of meetings without including campaign-related advocacy.

Although existing law might permit elected officials to conceal their calendars, nothing in the law prohibits elected officials from voluntarily disclosing information. We call on our elected officials to honor the spirit and purpose of open government by publicly disclosing their calendars, so that the public may be fully informed on who might be influencing their chosen representatives.