Ed and Lynn Fallon filed a formal ethics complaint today against Senator Merlin Bartz, according to an e-mail I received today from I'M for Iowa. Excerpt:
On a Senate Republican website, Senator Bartz posts a link to a petition appealing to county recorders to "refuse to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples on April 27th." Senator Bartz has also spoken publicly in support of county recorders taking this action.
In their complaint, Ed and Lynn assert, "Senator Bartz's actions appear to violate Article III, Section 32 of the Constitution of the State of Iowa and Chapter 63.10 of the Code of Iowa. Both state that duly elected officials must solemnly swear to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Iowa. Furthermore, the Senate Code of Ethics states that every legislator must 'encourage respect for the law,' and the Senator's actions appear to violate this provision."
The complaint further states: "We have not been able to ascertain whether taxpayer money was used in the development and maintenance of the website that Senator Bartz used to promote the petition (http://www.iowasenaterepublicans.org/Bartz/Bartz.htm), but if such is the case, this suggests a misuse of taxpayer money by an elected official to promote breaking the law. We call attention to the fact that the website in question also lists Republican Caucus staff members, who are entirely funded at taxpayer expense."
"Let me be clear that this is not personal," said Ed Fallon. "When we served in the Legislature, Senator Bartz and I worked on several issues together. I continue to have great respect for him and find him to be intelligent and a man of integrity. This complaint is in no way intended to cast dispersions, merely to state that, in this instance, Senator Bartz's actions appear to constitute a breach of the Senate's ethical standards."
"I have read the formal complaint filed by Ed Fallon and find it without merit. According to procedures set forth by Senate Rules I will submit a formal response to the Senate Ethics Committee within the next ten days. I fully expect the Committee to dismiss this complaint, thus continuing the tradition of free speech on the floor of the Iowa Senate. It is important that the voices of Iowans are not silenced and a vote is held to determine what constitutes marriage."
What do you think, Bleeding Heartland readers? Will the Senate Ethics Committee dismiss this complaint against a member of the club, or will they call Bartz out for encouraging county recorders to disregard the law? The Attorney General's Office has made clear that recorders must comply with the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling.