Freedom of Information Request – Office of Ombudsman, State of Iowa

03 January 2022

MEMORANDUM

From: Michael J. Merritt
PO BOX 294
Newton, IA 50208
(641)-840-9916
Active Duty Military Retired/Writer

To: Office of Ombudsman
Ola Babcock Miller Building
1112 East Grand
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Office of the Governor
Iowa State Capitol
1007 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Iowa Senate, General Assembly 89 (2021-2023)
Districts 2-50
(Electronic Service)

Iowa House of Representatives, General Assembly 89 (2021-2023)
Districts 1-100
(Electronic Service)

Office of the Attorney General of Iowa
Hoover State Office Building
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-5164
Fax: 515-281-4209

Office of Auditor of State
Room 111
State Capitol Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Subj: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST – OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN, STATE OF IOWA

Ref: 1. THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, 5 U.S.C. § 552
2. Iowa Open Records Act – Iowa Code Chapter 22
3. First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America
4. Section 2 of the Constitution to the State of Iowa
5. Section 7 of the Constitution to the State of Iowa
6. Mission of the Office of Ombudsman for the State of Iowa
7. Mission of the Office of the Attorney General of Iowa
8. Mission of the Iowa Auditor of State
9. Freedom of Information Request to the City of Newton, Iowa #001, 27 NOV 2021
10. Freedom of Information Request to the City of Ames, Iowa #001, 29 NOV 2021
11 Freedom of Information Request to the City of Marshalltown, Iowa #001, 02 DEC 2021
12. Freedom of Information Request to the City of Guthrie Center, Iowa #001, 03 DEC 2021
13. Freedom of Information Request to the City of Newton, Iowa #002, 03 DEC 2021
14. Freedom of Information Request to Iowa State University, 05 DEC 2021
15. Freedom of Information Request – Ames Community School District #001, 07 DEC 2021
16. Office of Ombudsman for The State of Iowa, 16 DEC 2021
17. Office of Ombudsman for The State of Iowa, 17 DEC 2021
18. Freedom of Information Request – Jasper County Iowa – #001, 20 DEC 2021
19. Freedom of Information Request to the City of Marshalltown, Iowa #002, 03 DEC 2021
20. Freedom of Information Request – Iowa State University #001, 03 DEC 2021
21. Freedom of Information Request – Iowa State University #002, 03 DEC 2021
22. Freedom of Information Request – Iowa State University #003, 03 DEC 2021

1. Requested Information

(a.) All Office of Ombudsman for the State of Iowa end-user electronic mail, including attachments mentioning Michael Merritt, Michael J Merritt, Michael J. Merritt, and Michael James Merritt during 01 AUG 2019 at 0001 Local Time through 03 JAN 2022 at 2359 Local Time.

(b.) All Office of Ombudsman for the State of Iowa end-user electronic mail, including attachments with the City of Ames, Ames Police Department, the City of Marshalltown, Marshalltown Police Department, the City of Newton, and the Newton Police Department regarding Michael Merritt, Michael J Merritt, Michael J. Merritt, or Michael James Merritt during 01 AUG 2019 at 0001 Local Time through 03 JAN 2022 at 2359 Local Time.

(c.) The desired format of requested data: Thumb drive (at City of Newton published rate):

(d.) The originator of this request is not responsible for any costs generated by the production or organization of this data if the clerical, professional, clerical staff, legal fees, or any other required actions or cost exceed 10 hours or $1000 (whichever comes first) without prior coordination and approval from the originator of this request.

(e.) Distribution of Requested Data: Priority Mail sent to the originator of this request.

2. Background

The Constitution of the United States of America and the State of Iowa protects a citizen’s right to freedom of speech while preventing the introduction of laws that would restrain or abridge that right. The Constitution of the United States of America protects “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Constitution of the State of Iowa articulates that “all political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people, and they have the right, at all times, to alter or reform the same, whenever the public good may require it.”

The mission of the Office of Ombudsman for the State of Iowa is to “serve as an independent and impartial agency to which citizens can air their grievances about government. By facilitating communications between citizens and government and making recommendations to improve administrative practices and procedures, the Ombudsman promotes responsiveness and quality in government”. The mission of the Office of the Attorney General of Iowa includes “being an advocate and resource for the State of Iowa and its residents in many areas, including protecting the public through criminal prosecutions, consumer protection efforts, combating fraud and corruption, and protecting civil rights.” The mission of the Iowa Auditor of State is to serve as the Taxpayers’ Watchdog. Their “work is to help ensure government officials use taxpayer dollars for the intended purposes to benefit the public.”

3. Freedom of Speech and the Right for a Redress of Grievances

If the government of the State of Iowa executes itself concerning its responsibilities to the protection, security, and benefit of the people as articulated in section two of its constitution. It is unclear why an individual appointed to a position operating under the authority provided by Iowa Code Chapter 2C would insinuate favor is utilized within government, or communicate a citizen is seeking favor while they are requesting records made available by the Iowa Open Records Act (Iowa Code Chapter 22) while communicating grievances to departments of government.

When executed by a government official, this behavior could restrain, abridge, or produce prejudice against a citizen while they disseminate correspondence to redress grievances with government departments for the State of Iowa, including the Office of Ombudsman for the State of Iowa (granted authority to hear grievances being communicated by its citizens). Does this behavior not contradict the spirit of freedom of speech protected by the constitutions of the State of Iowa and the United States of America while a citizen is communicating a grievance to government agencies within the State of Iowa including the office Iowa Code Chapter 2C has granted authority to mediate grievances? Is a government official accusing a private citizen of seeking favor without evidence while they are communicating a grievance and producing an awareness of injustice, possibly a vehicle that could restrain, abridge, or discredit their speech for the benefit of the government?

It is unprecedented for an agency provided authority under Iowa Code 2C to attack or question the motive and purpose of a private citizen’s speech (protected by the constitutions of the State of Iowa and the United States of America) without evidence while possibly perpetuating a reality where a citizen’s integrity is questioned leading to the restraining, abridgment, or production of prejudice against their communicated grievance. When a citizen is attempting to perpetuate awareness to various state agencies regarding a grievance, is it not logical to include the state’s agencies with relevant responsibilities, including the Office of Iowa Ombudsman for the State of Iowa granted authority under Iowa Code 2C to provide citizens a means to communicate their grievances?

Favor is a variable that is desired by the deceitful and prejudicial while attempting to advance their agenda. At the same time, deceit and prejudice is a vehicle used by the unethical to silence the honorable that stand on a foundation of truth. The righteous do not desire or require favor because they know that the movement of time will eventually provide evidence of the truth regarding the unethical. Faith and character provide the courage needed to survive during the agenda of the wicked until the availability of evidence of their conduct disqualifies them.

If government officials perpetuate prejudice against private citizens attempting to communicate testimony and evidence to their elected officials and those appointed to government by persecuting their motive without evidence, those elected officials and the professionals they appoint are not executing their profession in the spirit of the constitutions of The State of Iowa and the United States of America. If there is available evidence that suggests that elected officials or their appointed government officers do not reflect our republic’s foundational documents. It is the responsibility of the republic’s citizens to communicate to their government regarding reform of any discrepancy. Actions against a republic’s citizens by their government and their failure to correct those actions ultimately reveal the true form of that government and the republic it serves.

4. Purpose of Request

This request is to pursue records (if any exist) that may shed light on what motivated the 17 DEC 2021 response from the Office of Ombudsman for the State of Iowa.

Respectfully,

Michael J. Merrit
PO BOX 294
Newton, IA 50208
(641)-840-9916