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FOIA Oversight Hearing - Grassley Statement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 14 March 2014 08:19

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Hearing on “Open Government and Freedom of Information:

Reinvigorating the Freedom of Information Act for the Digital Age”

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I always enjoy this hearing.  It provides us an opportunity to focus on how the government handles the Freedom of Information Act.  As I’ve said before, it’s been my experience that every administration, whether Republican or Democratic, has challenges in providing the degree of transparency desired by so many.

Unfortunately, the current administration, as administrations before, continues to fail to provide the transparency that the President promised.  This is troubling, as we all were told this would be the most transparent administration ever.  We need to do better than the status quo.

I expect we’ll hear about some of the changes in technology that are taking place to make the Freedom of Information Act process better.  This is important and improvements are needed.  But we also must remain focused on improving the way the government thinks about transparency and Freedom of Information.  All of the changes to technology will be futile if there’s not a change in attitude.

On this point, at last year’s hearing I questioned what the Justice Department was doing to improve the way people think about transparency.   I hope to hear today what’s been done to change the so-called “culture of obfuscation among Freedom of Information officials.”

The Justice Department and its Office of Information Policy has a unique and special role with regard to the Freedom of Information Act.  The Office of Information Policy can have a profound impact on Freedom of Information Act policy.  It can tackle head-on the government-wide “culture of obfuscation” problems.  I’m concerned, though, that rather than lead in a positive way, the Justice Department has acted in a way that’s contrary to the President’s transparency promise.

I’m frustrated with the legal argument the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission made in a recent Freedom of Information case.  In Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. Federal Election Commission, the Justice Department made an argument that, in the view of many, undermined the Freedom of Information Act. 

Fortunately, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision, rejected the Obama Administration’s argument.  The D.C. Circuit said the government’s position would create a “Catch-22” situation, leaving requesters in limbo for months or years.  That result isn’t what Congress or the law envisions.  I’m glad the court got this one right, but it’s a shame that it even had to consider the question.

What message does the Justice Department’s argument send to other agencies?  I fear this “do as I say, not as I do” approach emboldens agencies to craft legal maneuvers that undermine Freedom of Information compliance.  That’s what the Federal Election Commission did and the Justice Department was right there to help them in court.

Given the Justice Department’s leadership role with respect to the Freedom of Information Act, this is disappointing, if not downright alarming.  If Justice makes these kinds of arguments, why should anyone be shocked about lack of transparency claims against the government?  As a Senator, I’ve had my own challenges in obtaining information from this administration.  If it’s this difficult for a senator, I can only imagine how much more difficult and frustrating it is for a private citizen.

So, this problem is something we need to address.  I know we’ll hear from the witnesses today about proposals to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act.  These may in fact be needed, but we must first ensure current law is followed, rather than undermined.

I’ll note that recently the House of Representatives unanimously passed bipartisan Freedom of Information legislation.  That’s a real accomplishment these days.  I understand, Mr. Chairman, our staffs are reviewing this legislation and hearing from those in the transparency community.  Overall, the reception seems to be positive, but there are some questions that have been raised regarding, for example, the technology used for handling requests.  We’ll continue to examine this issue and others, but here’s a bill that we should take serious and examine closely.

There’s a lot of room for improvement and I look forward to asking our witnesses about some of these concerns I’ve raised today.


The University of Iowa Press is proud to present the newest Prairie Lights book, Family Feeling, a novella and five stories by Jean Ross Justice. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Allison Means   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 08:46
"Family Feeling"
"Jean Ross Justice's stories explore those mysterious feelings that bind us and loose us and bind us again, to and from one another, all of them family feelings in the end, it seems, and all of them hallmarks of our impossible, ineffable humanity."--Paul Harding

"This vivid, understated portrayal of the end of life proves again that we are often most haunted by what is most common. These stories are beautiful, gestural language portrayals of much that cannot be said. I hope you will read them, and believe that if you do, you will want to read them again and again."--Jan Weissmiller, publisher of Prairie Lights Books

Regular Price: $18.00
Sale Price: $10.00

New poetry collection gives author’s views on life, finds beauty in darkness PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Marketing Services   
Thursday, 20 February 2014 16:37

‘Is It Me Can You Tell?’ presents author’s latest poetry, discusses childhood, love, betrayal

WADENA, Minn. – Inspiration can come from just about anywhere. For many poets, it is drawn from daily life, nature or one’s culture. For author Peter Norris Patrick Harold Peveto, it comes primarily from his childhood. In his new collection of poetry, “Is It Me Can you Tell?: A Book Of Poetry” (published by AuthorHouse), Peveto invites readers to take a peek into his childhood experiences, loves lost and politics.

Many of the poems in Pevetos’ “Is It Me Can You Tell?” “deal with the emotions I experienced during my childhood, as there were some uncomfortable occurrences,” Peveto writes.

Despite some of the difficult or dark occurrences in his childhood, Peveto is a firm believer in finding the “beauty” in the “ugly,” which he hopes to get across to readers through his poems.

An excerpt from the poem “Starr,” taken from “Is It Me Can you Tell?”:


“The shortness of breath causes great despair,

Overwhelmed by passion just by touching your hair,

The smoothness of silk was wished upon your skin,

And through journeyed explorations the touching begins”


“Is It Me Can You Tell?”

By Peter Norris Patrick Harold Peveto

Softcover | 5 x 8 in | 60 pages | ISBN 9781434349637

E-Book | ISBN 9781463494070

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble


About the Author

Peter Norris Patrick Harold Peveto was born in Bay City, Texas. Since the age of 6, he has had a love for words, especially puns. Despite having practiced painting, sculpting, drawing and tattooing, Peveto finds words to be the most expressive of the art forms. “Is It Me Can you Tell?” is his first published book, although he has several more in the works.

For the latest, follow @authorhouse on Twitter.


Memoir portrays spiritual side of rural medical practice PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Marketing Services   
Monday, 17 February 2014 13:27

Author Tom Weber proudly shares a man’s selfless efforts to help the poor and the needy by being ‘The Christmas Doctor’

UTAH – “Sometimes, present day medical practitioners seem to forget the deep spiritual springs of their profession,” author Tom Weber says. In his quest to highlight a remarkable person’s almost unbelievable willingness and drive to help people, Weber tells an endearing and inspiring account of “The Christmas Doctor” (published by AuthorHouse). Illustrating Dr. Weber’s (his father’s) life, Weber presents a very interesting alternative to today’s emphasis on the economic side of the medical practice and also to modern-day student loans.

Since his life was saved as a teenager by a deeply religious nurse, John Peter Weber dedicated his life to saving the lives of others. He performed hard physical labor over a long period of time in order to pay the cost of attending medical school. His medical career took place amidst some of the most primitive country in the United States including Hell’s Canyon of the Snake River, Salmon River Canyon, and the Bitterroot Mountains.

Presenting not an ideal but real practice of one heroic physician from the earlier times, Weber gets his message across that an unselfish, humanitarian, and courageous medical practice can be rewarding.

“The Christmas Doctor”

By Tom Weber

Hardcover | 6 x 9in | 112 pages | ISBN 9781491815601

Softcover | 6 x 9in | 112 pages | ISBN 9781491815618

e-book | 112 pages | ISBN 9781491815595

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Tom Weber was born at Boise, Idaho, in 1946. He received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Brigham Young University in 1970 and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah in 1973. Through the years, he has worked for a number of governmental agencies, including the Utah State Insurance Fund and the United States Tariff Commission. While growing up in southern Idaho, Mr. Weber accompanied his father on many of his house calls. He resides at Salt Lake City.  “As I began to earnestly research my father's life,” recalls the author, “and caught a glimpse of his enormous achievement, I sensed my unworthiness to search further. I was treading on holy ground. It was like entering a sacred shrine and involuntarily dropping to one’s knees in awe. Still, I determined to stay the course despite my weakness since no one else was likely to ever do so.”  The author can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or at P.O. Box 1321, West Jordan, UT 84084.

. For the latest, follow @authorhouse on Twitter.

Woman Warrior Out to Conquer Iowa and Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Don Bracken   
Friday, 31 January 2014 16:01

First the Book then Turning Hearts and Minds

Miyoko Hikiji set out to help conquer Iraq ten years ago with the U.S. Army and today her sights are on the American homeland. She wrote of her Iraq experiences in her book All I Could Be: My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq published by Chronology Books, an imprint of History Publishing Company, and now she is telling her story to those who want to hear her tell of her exploits, what she did and experienced, and what she saw and would like to forget. She has been interviewed on several dozen radio and television programs and spoken in museums, bookstores and military installations since her book was published in May, 2013. Add the places below, the list is growing and more are pending. She has become a force of one.

  • Friday February 7th, 7:05pm being honored as the "Hero of the Game" Iowa Wild Hockey Team, Des Moines, IA
  • Wednesday, February 9th Noon Presentation and book signing at Griswold Public Library, Griswold, IA
  • Thursday, February 27th 6:30pm Presentation and book signing at Bertha Bartlett Library, Story City, IA
  • Tuesday, March 4th 6-9pm Book signing at Oakbrook Center Barnes and Noble, Oak Brook, IL
  • Wednesday, March 5th 730-9pm "Date with History" presentation at the First Division Museum at Catigny with book signing 30 minutes prior and after, Wheaton, IL
  • Friday, March 28th. Presentations at 10th Annual Diversity Conference, Indian Hill Community College, Ottumwa, IA
  • Friday, March 28th - Sunday, March 30th "Writing My Way Back Home" Workshop, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
  • Saturday, April 12th 9am-noon Book signing at Ankeny Authors Fair, Kirkendall Public Library, Ankeny, IA
  • Saturday, April 19th 2-3pm Presentation and book signing at James Kennedy Public Library, Dyersville, IA
  • Tuesday, May 6th Time TBA Presentation at Patty Turner Community Center, Deerfield, IL

Miyoko Hikiji’s book  All I Could Be: My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq is available at Barnes and Noble bookstores, fine independent bookstores and on Review copies of her book are available to accredited members of the media. Contact: Don Bracken, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 845-398-8161

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