Iowa lawmakers are exempt from releasing their work emails or daily schedules to the public because they determine their own rules on such matters, and the Iowa Supreme Court has upheld that authority.
Legislative staffers cited the Iowa Constitution in their records request denial to The Associated Press, which sought the documents for Senate and House leaders.
The AP requested information for legislative leaders in all 50 states as part of Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote government transparency and freedom of information. The request turned up as many denials as approvals.
Iowa’s constitution says the General Assembly can determine its rules, and the Iowa Supreme Court decided in 1996 that this includes record confidentiality policies.
Some lawmakers say the system ensures constituents can confidently contact elected officials.