Freedom of Information/Sunshine Law Disputes
State and federal government agencies have an obligation to conduct public business in a transparent manner.
In Iowa, governmental bodies may only take certain actions through meetings open to the public under Iowa Code Chapter 21. In addition, the public generally has a right to request access to records in the custody of the government pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 22. There are, however, nuances and exceptions to both chapters that may apply in specific situations. The Iowa Public Information Board has authority under Iowa Code Chapter 23 to both investigate and enforce alleged violations of Iowa’s sunshine laws.
On the federal level, the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) contains an obligation to disclose certain requested records in the hands of a federal agency. Like the Iowa state open records laws, the federal FOIA contains numerous exceptions from disclosure and nuances. The application of these may generate controversy.
Dickinson attorneys have successfully advised both governmental entities and private parties on the application of state and federal sunshine laws. Dickinson attorneys have also successfully litigated disputes over open meetings and open records laws, and handled administrative matters before the Iowa Public Information Board.