Iowa Open Records Law

IWD: Agency director isn’t the ‘custodian’ of her own text messages

BY: - August 2, 2021

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend’s isn’t the custodian of her own work-related text messages and cannot be relied upon to retain and make those records public, an agency lawyer says. The agency’s position poses a threat to public access to government information, said Iowa Freedom of Information Council Executive Director Randy Evans. If IWD […]

Iowa sued over agency’s alleged failure to turn over Test Iowa emails

BY: - July 30, 2021

The Iowa Department of Public Health, already fighting formal complaints claiming it has repeatedly violated Iowa’s Open Records Law, is now being sued over access to records related to a $26 million no-bid contract. Suzette Rasmussen, a lawyer from Draper, Utah, is suing the Iowa Department of Public Health and its spokesperson, Sarah Ekstrand. The […]

State panel tables open-records complaints against public health agency

BY: - July 15, 2021

Editor’s note: Reporter Clark Kauffman was covering the Iowa Public Information Board meeting when he was unexpectedly asked to speak to a complaint he filed on behalf of Iowa Capital Dispatch. This article includes an edited version of some of his comments to the board, in italics, that are provided for transparency and clarity. The […]

IWD director wants $3,846 for her emails, and says her text messages have been purged

BY: - June 7, 2021

After declining requests for an interview, the director of Iowa Workforce Development has responded to a request for her emails with an invoice for $3,846, while stating that her requested text messages have all been purged. The action comes just two weeks after IWD falsely claimed to have turned over another set of documents that […]

Governor’s office doesn’t respond to question about auction of Terrace Hill dinner

BY: - May 5, 2021

The office of Gov. Kim Reynolds has not responded to three written requests for information related to the auction of a dinner at the governor’s official residence to benefit a Christian school. The Iowa Department of Public Health, meanwhile, has indicated it is still unable to respond to an April 3 request for one day’s […]

Iowa Capital Dispatch files second complaint over access to COVID-19 data

BY: - March 15, 2021

The Iowa Capital Dispatch has filed its second complaint this month with the Iowa Public Information Board, alleging state officials are withholding additional data related to COVID-19. In March 5, the Capital Dispatch complained to IPIB that the Iowa Department of Public Health was denying access to a list showing all of the coronavirus outbreaks […]

Iowa Capital Dispatch files public-records complaint over COVID-19 outbreak information

BY: - March 5, 2021

The Iowa Capital Dispatch has filed a formal complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board over access to a state report detailing COVID-19 outbreaks in the state’s 440 nursing homes. On Dec. 9, the news organization asked the Iowa Department of Public Health for an updated list showing all of the coronavirus outbreaks in Iowa […]

Fee for accessing public-health emails increases to almost $10,000

BY: - July 16, 2020

The Iowa Department of Public Health says “a typo” caused the agency to misstate the fee it intends to charge before considering whether it will disclose a select group of emails sent to and from the state medical director. The actual fee for access is close to $10,000, which is 23% more than what the […]

Access to public health official’s emails will cost at least $8,000

BY: - July 14, 2020

The Iowa Department of Public Health is asking for at least $8,000 to publicly disclose two months’ worth of emails between the state medical director and a select group of other state officials. Last month, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported that emails obtained from a federal agency show that the state medical director, Dr. Caitlin […]

How accountable are private groups that conduct public business?

BY: - February 17, 2020

A tiny, four-acre plot of land in western Iowa is at the center of a dispute that could have major implications for private organizations that perform basic governmental functions. Under Iowa law, private organizations that are paid by cities and counties to conduct the business of government are typically treated as public entities subject to […]

he State Capital of Iowa is reflected by the Henry A Wallace Building

Bill aims to eliminate legal fees for accessing public documents

BY: - January 23, 2020

The Iowa Legislature is considering a bill that would prevent governmental agencies from charging citizens a fee to determine whether they’re entitled to see documents in the agency’s possession. The fees have been the subject of controversy for years. Under the current law, anyone who requests a government document from a public entity may be […]