Madison Award winners announced

Thursday, February 25, 1999

WASHINGTON — The board members and congressional authors of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board have been named recipients of the 1999 James Madison Award, sponsored by the Coalition on Government Information.

Coalition members include the American Library Association, the Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Security Archive and others who share a concern for open public access to government information.

This is the 10th anniversary of the awards, which honor those who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know. The awards are presented annually on Freedom of Information Day observed March 16, the anniversary of the birth date of fourth President James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights.

“The Coalition on Government Information is proud to recognize the members of Congress who identified the paramount need for this work in authorizing the JFK Assassination Records Review Board, and the five members of the Review Board who ably carried out their charge in collecting and releasing to the public this important material,” said Daniel O’Mahony, chair of the coalition and Brown University librarian.

This year’s Madison Awards will be presented at a day-long conference “Access to Information: Strategies and Solutions” sponsored by The Freedom Forum in cooperation with the American Library Association. The program will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 16.

On the program are Roslyn Mazer, U.S. Department of Justice; Peter Pricard, president, The Freedom Forum; Gary Bass, of OMB Watch; Jane Kirtley, executive director of the Reporters Committee; Ann K. Symons, president of the American Library Association; representatives of the assassination review board and others seeking to protect public access to government information.

The JFK Assassination Records Review Board was established by Congress in 1992 (P.L. 102-526) as an independent agency to facilitate release of information relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In 1997, Congress reauthorized the Review Board for an additional year to enable it to complete its work (P.L. 105-25). The Review Board submitted its final report to Congress on September 30, 1998. The Review Board identified and released thousands of previously secret government records and amassed a collection of over four million pages of records that now are available to the public relating to this traumatic event in American history.

Members of the Assassination Records Review Board are: The Honorable John R. Tunheim, U.S. District Court judge for the district of Minnesota, elected to chair the Review Board; Henry F. Graff, professor emeritus of history at Columbia University; Kermit L. Hall, executive dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, dean of the College of Humanities and professor of history and law at Ohio State University; William L. Joyce, associate university librarian for rare books and special collections at Princeton University; and Anna Kasten Nelson, distinguished adjunct historian in residence and professor of foreign relations at American University.

The congressional authors of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act are: The Honorable John Glenn (former senator from Ohio), sponsor of the 1992 act (S. 3006) that established the Assassination Records Review Board; the Honorable Dan Burton (representative from Indiana), chair of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, and sponsor of the 1996 reauthorization act (H.R. 1553); the Honorable Henry Waxman (representative from California), ranking minority member on the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight and an original cosponsor of the 1996 reauthorization act; and the Honorable Louis Stokes (representative from Ohio), chair of the House Select Committee on Assassinations established in 1976, sponsor of the 1992 House bill (H.J. Res. 454), and an original cosponsor of the 1996 reauthorization act.

In addition to the Madison Awards, the Coalition on Government Information will present a special recognition award to Anne A. Heanue, recently retired as associate director from the American Library Association Washington Office, in recognition of her commitment to and support of public access to government information throughout her career and in appreciation for her many years of work on behalf of the Coalition.

The Coalition on Government Information was founded in 1986 by the American Library Association to promote awareness and support for open public access to government information.

There is no charge for the “Access to Information” conference which will be held at The Freedom Forum in Arlington, Va. Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, call Virginia Wright at 703/284-3512 or send e-mail to

Contact: Carol Henderson or Lynne Bradley, 202/628-8410