Rod Blum's internet business, other firms tout identical "success stories"

The Dubuque-based company mostly owned by U.S. Representative Rod Blum touts the same 11,000 clients and verbatim “success stories” as several other firms offering search engine optimization (SEO) services around the country.

Tin Moon‘s existence and connection to Blum became widely known this week following coverage by the Associated Press. Todd McCally, listed on Tin Moon’s website as “Chief Technology Officer and Director of SEO Activity and Research,” holds similar titles for at least four other companies, several of which promote the same customer testimonials.

The founders of two such firms told Bleeding Heartland today that they and Tin Moon were “affiliates” of McCally’s parent company, GetMePlacement.com.

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Jonathan Narcisse, Remembered

State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad’s tribute to his friend Jonathan Narcisse. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Jonathan Narcisse, advocate, media presence, and publisher of several newspapers, including “The Bystander,” Iowa’s most enduring publication geared towards an African American audience, died last Saturday, February 17. He was 54–young, but not unusual for a black man in America.

He was also my former campaign manager, business associate, peer, and friend. So I write this with sadness in my heart for the loss Iowa experiences as a result of his death, and with joy in my soul that he is no longer in pain.

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Mary Mosiman still distancing herself from oversight failure

State Auditor Mary Mosiman continues to defend her failure to ask tough questions as an ex officio member of the board that was supposed to oversee the scandal-plagued Iowa Communications Network.

Mosiman had a spotty attendance record for meetings of the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission, which didn’t notice “misspending, cronyism and self-dealing” at ICN for years. Whistleblowers came forward last summer, prompting a special investigation that led to the firing of three top officials.

During a recent meeting with state lawmakers, Mosiman contended she had no reason to believe the ICN was being mismanaged and indicated she didn’t see her board role as relevant to her job as state auditor. She also revealed she hadn’t been aware that voting members were paid to serve on the technology commission, even though their salaries were written into Iowa Code.

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Republicans blow a billion-dollar hole in the budget

Matt Chapman reports from today’s Iowa Senate committee hearings on a massive tax bill published the previous day. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Senate Republicans dropped Senate Study Bill 3197 on February 21, scheduling a subcommittee on the tax plan first thing the following morning and a full Ways and Means Committee to consider the bill shortly after lunch. They had employed a similar shock-and-awe tactic last week to get Senate Study Bill 3193 through the legislature’s “funnel” on the last possible day. That bill, modeled after a Florida law deemed unconstitutional, called for drug testing Medicaid and food assistance (SNAP) recipients, along with quarterly instead of yearly recertification and work requirements.

In opening comments on his tax proposal, Senate Ways and Means Chair Randy Feenstra said SSB 3197 was “bold” and would save Iowans an average of $1,000 in taxes. You can watch the whole meeting on video here.

Senator Pam Jochum, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said she was looking forward to input from EMS and firefighters, among others, since this bill would end deductions. She was also concerned that there was no fiscal impact statement and wanted to be sure it fit the budget. Jochum asked Feenstra if he had any data he could share.

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Iowa Senate Republicans seeking to end solar tax credit

The official Iowa Senate Republican tax plan would repeal the state’s popular Solar Energy Systems tax credit later this year.

Ways and Means Committee Chair Randy Feenstra introduced Senate Study Bill 3197 on February 21 and scheduled a subcommittee meeting on the 130-page bill for 8:00 am the following morning. Sweeping changes to individual and corporate income tax rates could reduce state revenue by more than $1 billion annually, though the details are unclear, because no fiscal analysis is publicly available.

Although the bill would create a new legislative committee to “comprehensively review and evaluate each tax credit” (pages 31-2), it also calls for scaling back or eliminating some tax credits, with the solar incentive the first to go.

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