Sample Public Records Request Letter

[Date]

Dear [Name of government official or employee in possession of record you are seeking]:

I am requesting a copy of the following information pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 22, the public records law.

[Detail here what records you want. Try to be as specific as possible to ensure that you receive what you are seeking. For example, “I would like copies of all correspondence between members of the city council and ABC Industries from June 10, 2014, through August 30, 2014.”]

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office advises that most requests for records are routine and should be handled immediately. Chapter 22.8 (4) allows for a “good-faith, reasonable delay” under certain circumstances, including to determine whether the records are confidential and not available to the public. The official having custody of the records being sought is allowed up to 20 calendar days to determine whether the documents  should be released, but such delays should not ordinarily exceed 10 business days.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in a 2013 case (Horsfield Materials Inc. v. City of Dyersville) that a government agency can have additional time  to comply with a public records request when “the size or nature of the request makes prompt access infeasible.”

If there is a copying fee, please inform me in advance if the fee is more than [your upper dollar amount]. Chapter 22.3 says that the fee shall not exceed the actual cost of providing the service.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

[Your name and contact information]

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