You may read here the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism’s 990 tax return for 2019. It covers our work at the IowaWatch.org news website and our educational programming for student journalists who produce in-depth reporting with IowaWatch staff journalists.
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 public around. This has occurred during the Iowa Board of Regents process for learning what students and employees at the University of Iowa hope to see in a new UI president. This has occurred as the Iowa Department of Public Health tapped into the advice of medical experts on what priorities should be established for access to the new coronavirus vaccines.
You may read here the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism 990 tax return for 2018. The center runs the IowaWatch.org news website and educational programming for student journalists who produce in-depth reporting with IowaWatch staff journalists. The non-profit, non-partisan center, founded in February 2010, spent $134,688, while raising $125,312 in 2018, both increases over the previous year, the return shows. The center received a boost at the end of the year when donors responded to the center’s inclusion in a Knight News Match fund drive. That fund drive resulted in a $24,688 grant disbursed by The Fund for Nonprofit News at The Miami Foundation in 2019.
David prevailed over Goliath in the famous tale from long ago using an unconventional weapon, his sling and a few stones. These days, river rocks aren’t a potent weapon. Now, it might just be the spotlight. And the spotlight was shining brightly last week in Iowa when an Associated Press reporter cracked open 32 years of cover-up by the Roman Catholic Church’s Sioux City Diocese. Randy Evans
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council.
Iowa’s Judicial Branch flunked a recent transparency and accountability study because of barriers to public access to information, a lack of legal requirements for judicial evaluations and issues surrounding potential conflicts of interest. They include limited access judicial officers’ asset disclosures and a lack of restrictions on judges returning to the private sector after the bench.
The 2015 State Integrity Investigation, a data-driven assessment of state government, found that in state after state, open records laws are laced with exemptions and part-time legislators and agency officials engage in glaring conflicts of interests and cozy relationships with lobbyists. Meanwhile, feckless, understaffed watchdogs struggle to enforce laws as porous as honeycombs.
The State Integrity Investigation is an in-depth collaboration designed to assess transparency, accountability, ethics and oversight in state government, spotlight the states that are doing things right and expose practices that undermine trust in state capitals.