Legal Fund Guidelines


The Open Government Litigation Fund is designed to assist members of America's Newspapers that are engaged in lawsuits  supporting the First Amendment rights of newspapers and the public's right to know.

The Fund is dedicated to providing support for necessary legal action — primarily the initial costs of drafting, filing and serving a lawsuit — to enforce the public’s right to know through access to government records and meetings.

Any member may submit a written request for assistance from the Fund with a state public records or open meetings lawsuit or with a federal Freedom of Information Act-based claim.

All requests are reviewed by a subcommittee of the Legal Affairs and Lobbying Committee, which will make a formal recommendation to the chairman of the committee for action by the Executive Committee of the full board of America’s Newspapers.

A member may make one request in a new case per year.

Funding is limited to $5,000 per lawsuit, including appeals, subject to the Fund’s capacity at the time of the member’s request.

Members receiving funding are obligated to seek recovery of legal expenses in each lawsuit, wherever possible, and to reimburse the Fund if legal expenses are recovered by the requesting member.

Written requests for assistance should be submitted to CEO Dean Ridings at

For additional information, contact Ridings at (847) 282-9850, ext. 105, or email him at