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Thu Aug 19, 2021, 11:42 PM

Governor facing two open records lawsuits

Governor Kim Reynolds’ office has flouted Iowa’s open records law since the earliest weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the governor and her senior legal counsel Michael Boal are facing two lawsuits filed by a Utah attorney seeking records related to Iowa’s pandemic response.

As first reported by Ryan Foley of the Associated Press, Suzette Rasmussen filed suit in Polk County District Court on August 12, after the governor’s office failed to provide correspondence about the Test Iowa program, first requested five months earlier.

One lawsuit stems from Rasmussen’s efforts to obtain “all correspondence regarding the Nomi Health COVID-19 contracts from March 1, 2020, through March 11, 2021.” The other request was for correspondence between Reynolds, her staff, and Utah Governor Gary Herbert and his staff regarding the test kits and contracts associated with NOMI Health. NOMI signed no-bid contracts to set up the Test Utah program and later Test Iowa.


Asked to comment on the litigation, Rasmussen told Bleeding Heartland on August 19,

We have sought out public records to answer questions about the effectiveness of COVID testing methods, about the state’s protocols for awarding contracts to its private partners, and about the control and use of personal data. We’ve obtained thousands of pages of records and we hope to obtain many more, which we hope will further illuminate the relationships between government leaders and the private companies with whom they work, as well as how those partnerships may have affected the election cycles that followed.

Though we’ve gained access to some records of note, many records that we view as critical pieces of this puzzle are still being withheld. We remain concerned about this pattern of impeding access to records regarding the public’s business, and we believe those concerns should be shared by all Iowans, as well as similarly situated citizens in other states.


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