Since its inception in 2012, the Iowa Public Information Board has focused on its mission “Shining the Light on Public Information.” The IPIB has been funded and active since July 2013. In 2014, the IPIB staff logged a total of 811 questions, complaints, and requests from citizens, government officials, and the media. Approximately one-third of the requests are from government officials and staff for assistance in interpreting and implementing Iowa laws on open meetings and public records. Even more contacts are from citizens wanting IPIB help to acquire public records and gain access to meetings without filing a formal complaint. Geographically, the questions and complaints arise from all over the state, from small town Iowa to the largest cities and counties.
“President James Madison was well-known as an advocate for open government,” according to Charlie Smithson, Executive Director of the IPIB. “As Madison stated, ‘A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or both.’ The Iowa Public Information Board continues to strive to promote the public confidence in government by having an open government.”