Iowa removes OWI files that exposed governor’s personal information
By RYAN J. FOLEY
IOWA CITY — Iowa’s court system has blocked public access to online records detailing Gov. Kim Reynolds’ 2000 arrest for drunk driving, saying they inadvertently exposed her sensitive personal information.
The records contained the governor’s Social Security number, driver’s license number and other sensitive information that should not have been made public under court rules.
After an inquiry from The Associated Press last week, the court system removed public access to the files.
Iowa Judicial Branch spokesman Steve Davis said that the Warren County clerk of court’s office in Indianola received a request for the paper files last September. After retrieving them from storage, the worker scanned them into the online system.
Under rules intended to protect personal privacy, the files should have been placed at a security level that allowed only court personnel to access them. Instead, the records were inadvertently made accessible to thousands of lawyers and members of the public who use the system.
Iowa became the first state to require electronic filing of all court records in 2015. Court rules require filers to redact confidential personal information, and they can face sanctions for submissions that fail to do so. Paper files for cases that occurred before electronic filing do not have such redactions, and clerks are supposed to restrict access to them if they choose to scan those records into the system.
Davis said paper records related to the August 2000 arrest can still be accessed at the courthouse. Reynolds’ spokesman Pat Garrett declined comment.
Reynolds has said that the arrest, her second for operating while intoxicated in a year, was a turning point. She says that she got treatment for alcoholism and has been sober since then.