Branstad works toward increased transparency

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is working to increase the transparency of his office with a new website. The website will allow visitors to track open records requests made to his office. Branstad has come up against criticism in the past for a lack of transparency in his administration and has slowly been working to correct that.

According to the Governor’s office, the website will include details of open record requests such as the date they were made and what documents were provided. The website is part of a larger move by the Governor to push for new enforcement authority with the state’s open records laws.

The Governor plans to use the next legislative session to push for this authority again after it was dismissed in the previous session. Overall, the Governor has a mixed record on transparency. Transparency was a central theme of Branstad’s campaign, including promises that he wouldn’t charge fees for information requests. However, in practice the Branstad administration has implemented fees for such requests if the information is released at all.

In his announcement of the website, the Governor noted that 90% of requests are fulfilled on time but that some requests do contain sensitive information and that should be accounted for.

“We want to make sure people get accurate, timely information,” the governor said during his weekly news conference.