Randy Evans

Randy Evans

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a 43-year-old nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works for improved government transparency and citizen accountability. He can be reached at [email protected].


Cameras in the courtroom are a must for Trump criminal case

By: - June 20, 2023

Forty-four years ago, the Iowa Supreme Court made an important change in the way the state courts operate — allowing journalists to bring their cameras and audio recorders inside courtrooms during hearings and trials to better inform the public about noteworthy cases. Iowa was a pioneer in making its court proceedings more accessible and transparent […]


Graduation invokes memories, gratitude for former Gov. Robert Ray

By: - June 6, 2023

Sue and I were in Washington, Iowa, last month. The purpose for our trip was a high school graduation. It was a special occasion because the people we joined with in honoring young Cameron, the newly minted Washington High School grad, have been our friends for almost 44 years. It is important to know that […]


Millions of reasons why outside scrutiny is important

By: - May 23, 2023

When FBI agents led a Dixon, Ill., official out of city hall in handcuffs and the charges against her became public, the most often asked question was, “How?” How did City Comptroller Rita Crundwell manage to embezzle an astounding $54 million from the northwest Illinois community of 15,700 people before she was finally detected? How […]


Why Iowa Freedom of Information Council is suing the Centerville School Board

By: - May 16, 2023

In 2017, the Iowa Legislature responded to concerns from Gov. Terry Branstad and amended Iowa law to ensure that when government employees are forced out of their jobs, the reasons must be made public and not shrouded in secrecy. The goal was commendable. The governor was right. People deserve to be told “why.” It is […]


Keeping Iowans in the dark about water quality is not acceptable

By: - May 5, 2023

If you watch the Iowa Legislature in action, there are some truisms you see time and again. Such as: Each political party is in favor of transparency and accountability — until they gain the majority. Then those politicians see many reasons why transparency and accountability are problematic. Another: If you don’t know where you are […]


Who knew there are two sides to waste, fraud, abuse?

By: - April 26, 2023

I thought the often-repeated desire to weed out waste, fraud and abuse from government spending was something Republicans, Democrats and independents could all agree on in Iowa. Boy, am I naïve. A bit of recent Iowa government history illustrates this contradiction between our elected officials’ statements and their actions. The Iowa Communities Assurance Pool was […]


Shouting down speakers who disagree with us is not freedom of speech

By: - April 10, 2023

My friend Denny and I were as different as night and day. He was conservative; I wasn’t. I accused him of being to the right of Attila the Hun. He accused me of working for Pravda, the famed Communist party newspaper. We thoroughly enjoyed poking each other this way. It was invigorating to hash over […]


With parents’ rights, Iowa Republicans giveth and taketh away

By: - April 4, 2023

The Iowa Legislature and Gov. Kim Reynolds cannot seem to make up their minds whether they support parental rights or are against Mom and Dad being the decision-makers when it comes to their children’s well-being. Trying to analyze Republican officials’ views on parental rights is challenging. Baseball’s infield fly rule is simpler. In 2021, the […]


Iowa is out of step on public access to police video

By: - March 15, 2023

Every few months, someone is killed or injured by police somewhere in the United States under circumstances that lead to inevitable questions about what exactly occurred. Typically, answers come when video from the law officers’ squad car cameras or their uniform cameras is made public. Each time this occurs, there are two inescapable conclusions: First, […]


Libraries shouldn’t look for excuses to exclude

By: - March 2, 2023

This has not been an easy time to be a librarian. Sixty-plus years ago, back when the library card was a coveted sign of my status as a young reader, Miss Botts and Mrs. Sager were never viewed as conspirators of controversy in the corner of the free world where I grew up. I never […]


A rural school teaches lessons on governing

By: - February 21, 2023

There is an interesting study in contrasts playing out right now in Iowa. One example comes from the Davis County School District in Bloomfield. It is the 96th-largest of Iowa’s 328 public districts, with an enrollment of 1,150 students. The other example comes from the Iowa Legislature and Gov. Kim Reynolds. The Davis County school […]


Reynolds’ latest idea to restrict school books would let the minority rule

By: - February 8, 2023

A recent public opinion poll found that three-quarters of Americans want members of Congress to end their bickering and begin compromising more with their colleagues from the other party. The poll was conducted across the United States by Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion for National Public Radio and the PBS News Hour. If such […]