August 28, 2007
Iowa Student Loan settles suit where it tried to block public access to data
I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear about instances like this, it immediately makes me suspicious. No one in their right mind would try to block access to documents via the court system unless they had something to hide. Read the whole article at the Des Moines Register.
Iowa Student Loan settles suit over document access
Lender agrees to drop bid to block release of e-mails
varUsername = “email@example.com”;document.write(“By JENNIFER JACOBSBy JENNIFER JACOBSIowa Student Loan Liquidity Corp. has settled a lawsuit it had filed in an attempt to stop The Des Moines Register from obtaining documents the lender considered confidential.
The West Des Moines-based nonprofit corporation agreed Friday to the release of the documents with a few redactions.
A small number of banking documents it considers proprietary will also be withheld.
The newspaper sought the documents as part of its examination of Iowa Student Loan, which was created by the state three decades ago.
The company is now the dominant student loan provider located in Iowa.
Staff from the state attorney general’s office had said all along that they believed most of the information was public and should be turned over.
On April 24, the Register filed a request under Iowa’s open-records law with the Iowa Board of Regents, asking for certain e-mails belonging to state employee Greg Nichols.
Nichols was a member of Iowa Student Loan’s board of directors at the same time he was the executive director of the Board of Regents.
On May 24, Iowa Student Loan filed a request for an injunction to block the release of some of the documents in the state’s possession.
When the Register filed another open-records request for certain e-mails belonging to Tom Gronstal, who is superintendent of the Iowa Division of Banking and also an Iowa Student Loan board member, Iowa Student Loan moved to block the release of some of those documents as well.
A court hearing on the matter had been scheduled for Friday, but the hearing was canceled when the parties reached a settlement.
Scrutiny of Iowa Student Loan began with the nonpartisan Iowa Legislative Services Agency, which concluded in a February report that lawmakers should question whether Iowa Student Loan’s nonprofit mission is being achieved.
State lawmakers called for a review of Iowa Student Loan by David Vaudt, the state auditor.
That audit should wrap up in a few weeks, staff from the auditor’s office said Monday.
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver had raised concerns about a lack of openness surrounding Iowa Student Loan and about possible conflicts of interest, and asked the attorney general’s office to look into the matter.