James Eli Shiffer | Star Tribune
Columnist and team leader | Watchdog and data team

James Eli Shiffer writes the Full Disclosure column and supervises the watchdog and data team. Shiffer joined the Star Tribune in 2005. A native of Scarsdale, N.Y., Shiffer previously worked at The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.


Redacted budget documents fuel new records fight at Minnesota Capitol

Secrecy Rules: Legislators riled at getting partial MnDOT budget documents.


Growing web of laws keeps Minnesotans in the dark

The state's public records law is riddled with hundreds of exceptions. Local governments and businesses are pushing to keep even more data secret.


Lawmakers propose limiting access to day care enforcement records

Providers want to protect reputations, but families want enforcement data.


Gov. Walker embraces government sunshine, but it's cloudy in Minnesota

Sunshine Week, the annual celebration of open government and the First Amendment, was heralded by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with a March 8 proclamation…


Governing goes off the record in Minnesota

Train cars loaded with highly flammable oil roll through Minnesota cities every day, but residents aren't allowed to see complete disaster plans detailing the potential…


Minnesota law allows driver's license snoopers to stay in shadows

The snooping into Minnesota driver’s license data became a scandal in 2012. Police officers, sheriff’s deputies and others were using the database to check the…



USDA removes animal welfare records from website

Dogs with sores on their paws and missing fur. Sick rabbits living in a trashy building. A kennel two degrees hotter than the 85-degree legal…


Details about Trump ban detainees are hard to pry loose

Amid the scenes of tearful reunions and airport protests that followed President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order on immigration, so much is still unknown…


Fading voice of an access advocate

When Minnesotans suspect their elected leaders or civil servants are hiding something, they can turn to a tiny state agency for help. The Information Policy…