Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition

A nonprofit organization

The disinfecting power of sunshine, as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called it, is fundamental to a healthy democracy. 

Every day, the nonpartisan Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition helps journalists and all Coloradans understand and use the state's open records and open meetings laws and fight improper denials of access. We provide training, resources and one-on-one coaching, and get lawyers involved when necessary.

CFOIC publishes a free, comprehensive online guide to Colorado's sunshine laws, searchable and indexed by topic with links to pertinent statutes and case law. Our blog reports on, and explains, timely and relevant freedom-of-information and First Amendment issues.

CFOIC advocates for government transparency and promotes legislation to provide greater public access. It is the Voice for Open Government in Colorado.


"In an age of declining traditional media, CFOIC is an essential voice for government transparency." - Luis Toro

"The CFOIC provides invaluable resources and information." - Kelsey Warner

"Thank you for being my journalism guardian angel." - Moe Clark


The purpose of the Coalition shall be to safeguard the right of the public to information it must have to act reasonably in a free and democratic society, and to monitor the climate in which Colorado journalism must meet its obligations to society. Additionally, the Coalition shall educate Colorado citizens that: the protection afforded by the United States and Colorado constitutions is a public right; government conducted in the open benefits the public interest; and a free and unfettered press is vital to the democratic process.

Background Statement

More than 10 years ago, you probably hadn’t heard of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition. It wasn’t exactly called that yet. CFOIC had been an under-the-radar “council” of journalists, lawyers and citizen groups formed in 1987 to “safeguard the right of the public to information it must have to act responsibly in a free and democratic society.”

Back then, CFOIC got involved in important court cases such as the push to release the Columbine killers’ “basement tapes.” It commented on legislation affecting the open records and open meetings laws. You might have attended a CFOIC-sponsored panel discussion at the Tattered Cover bookstore.

But there was only so much a board of dedicated volunteers could accomplish. Resource-strapped news organizations needed help — every day — with questions about the open government statutes. The public at large, it turned out, needed that too. And everybody needed a nonpartisan, Colorado-centric advocate for government transparency and the public's right to know.

They needed CFOIC to be The Voice for Open Government in Colorado.

Since I started as executive director a decade ago, I’ve responded to more than 5,600 inquiries to CFOIC’s freedom-of-information hotline (a few of those questions recently led to a successful lawsuit against the Denver school board for violating the open meetings law; another led to a successful lawsuit against the city of Denver for withholding text messages). I’ve made nearly 200 presentations to journalists, students and civic groups on Colorado’s open-government laws and how to use them effectively. CFOIC has published more than 630 original articles on FOI and press-freedom issues plus seven reports researched and written by University of Denver law students. And our free, comprehensive guide to Colorado’s sunshine laws has been viewed more than 20,000 times since we created an online version in November 2021.

At the legislature, we worked with partners to modernize CORA and ensure public access to police internal affairs files. We defeated an effort to weaken the open meetings law and spoke out against lawmakers’ use of a secret-ballot system to decide bills with fiscal notes. The judiciary adopted a statewide standard, suggested for years by CFOIC, for judges to use when sealing or suppressing court records in criminal cases.

With the "new” CFOIC now in its second decade, there is much more to do — like curbing the often-high cost of obtaining public records and addressing public officials’ use of apps that automatically delete messages.

- Jeff Roberts, CFOIC executive director

More on CFOIC's history:

Organization Data


Organization name

Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition

other names

Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, CFOIC, Colorado Freedom of Information Council

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Public & Societal Benefit

Organization Size

Small Organization


2101 Arapahoe St.
Denver, CO 80205

Service areas






Social Media