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].


Iowans deserve a governor, not a ruler

By: - March 30, 2021

The Iowa Supreme Court chamber is a magnificent venue for the seven justices who referee the thorniest legal questions in our state. The courtroom seats a few dozen spectators. Last week, it’s a shame there weren’t thousands of people listening to the justices’ questions and the lawyers’ responses in the appeal of Christopher Godfrey’s lawsuit […]


Winners in court can still be losers and the cost may be free expression

By: - March 23, 2021

Many years ago, during a conversation with an old lawyer, he made a comment I still remember: “You can sue the bishop of Boston for bastardy, but that doesn’t mean you are going to collect.” It was Frank Karpan’s way of reminding a young editor that merely filing a lawsuit is not the most important […]


Iowa should stop keeping police discipline secret

By: - March 16, 2021

The actions of journalists and police officers were in the spotlight last week in a Des Moines courtroom. The scrutiny came at the trial of Andrea Sahouri, a Des Moines Register reporter. She was arrested while covering a chaotic protest last May 31, six days after George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis […]


Iowa has more at stake than new road signs

By: - March 11, 2021

Tucked away among hundreds of bills being considered this year by the Iowa Legislature is one people might have quickly embraced in a different era. But times have changed. It has been 38 years since Robert Ray left the governor’s office. State government today is far messier than it was back then. Compounding the reaction […]


Republican lawmakers aren’t improving election security

By: - February 24, 2021

Iowa’s 2020 election was one for the record books — with 1.7 million people marking ballots. It was an impressive turnout in Iowa — with 76% of Iowa’s eligible voters taking part. There were no allegations of election fraud or polling place shenanigans in Iowa. No one suggested people from cemeteries were casting ballots in […]


Reynolds’ shifting views on personal choice could give Iowans whiplash

By: - February 16, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ message for Iowans has been consistent since the coronavirus pandemic arrived a year ago: Yes, wearing masks is important, the governor has made clear, but government should leave it to people to do right thing. Reynolds has been under intense pressure, both for and against facial masks. Advocates for a mask mandate […]


Iowa’s new symbol should be a question mark

By: - February 10, 2021

Through the years, the Iowa Legislature has chosen an official state flower and a state bird. There’s also a state tree and even an official rock. It may be time for lawmakers to designate an official state punctuation mark, too. The question mark seems to be an appropriate choice — especially after the troubling news […]


Repeat after me: Let the public know about public meetings

By: - January 29, 2021

The purpose was pretty simple when the Iowa Legislature wrote the state’s public meetings law many years ago: Government boards are required to announce their meetings at least one day in advance, and officials must tell the public what will be discussed and voted on. People are entitled to participate in our democracy by attending […]


Let’s clear up needless confusion about the First Amendment

By: - January 23, 2021

Forty-five words that were first written with a quill pen 230 years ago form what may be the most consequential sentence in United States history. But that sentence also is one of the most misunderstood — as recent comments from some of our leaders illustrate. The sentence I refer to is the First Amendment. It […]


We don’t need a ‘leader’ like this one

By: - January 17, 2021

I was a kid from small-town Iowa when I first laid eyes on the United States Capitol. It was 1962. My family squeezed into our Dodge and drove to our nation’s capital for the vacation of a lifetime. It was all about history. We walked through the White House. We climbed the steps of the […]


We’re not ready to pardon mass murder, are we?

By: - January 6, 2021

Through history, the decisions by our presidents to issue pardons and commutations have always been topics of controversy. President Gerald Ford probably torpedoed his election chances when he pardoned Richard Nixon for Nixon’s Watergate offenses. President Bill Clinton, a master of the tarnished reputation, pardoned his half-brother, Roger Clinton, for cocaine distribution crimes. President Jimmy […]


There’s no justification for government shutting the public out

By: - December 30, 2020

There are some high-minded legal principles written into Iowa laws and rulings by our state’s Supreme Court. But in recent weeks, one of those sound principles has run into a few closed-minded state officials and the closed doors of government. Some officials prefer to conduct the people’s business without being bothered with having the pesky […]