Laura Belin

Iowa regulator investigating DC group's undisclosed lobbying

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board is seeking further information on Heritage Action for America‘s efforts to lobby state government. The Associated Press was first to report on May 14 that the agency’s top staffer Mike Marshall asked Heritage Action’s executive director Jessica Anderson for details on her Iowa government contacts.

The previous day, leaked video showed Anderson bragging to Heritage donors that her group had “worked quietly” with Iowa lawmakers to help draft and support a new election bill, getting it passed with “little fanfare.”

Continue Reading...

Data show no clear trend for Iowa suicides during pandemic

While defending her approach to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Governor Kim Reynolds repeatedly asserted that Iowa was seeing an “uptick” in suicides, and listed suicides among the mental health problems that were “exponentially increasing.”

Preliminary data on Iowa deaths by suicide in 2020 paint a more complex picture. An estimated 557 Iowans took their own lives last year, the highest number recorded in two decades. However, many of the increased deaths occurred during January and February, before COVID-19 was identified in Iowa and well before any restrictions were imposed to slow the spread of the novel virus.

Continue Reading...

Jim Leach joins new GOP reform effort

Jim Leach is among 27 former Republican members of the U.S. House who spoke out this week for changing the GOP in the face of “rising political extremism.” Four former governors, along with several former ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, or Republican Party leaders are also among the 152 people who signed the “Call for American Renewal” published on May 13.

The document cites “the patriotic duty of citizens to act collectively in defense of liberty and justice” when “forces of conspiracy, division, and despotism arise.” The signers “declare our intent to catalyze an American renewal, and to either reimagine a party dedicated to our founding ideals or else hasten the creation of such an alternative.”

Continue Reading...

Iowa Public Health abandons COVID-19 safety in schools

Governor Kim Reynolds told Iowans this week to “lean further into normal,” since “There’s no reason for us to continue to fear COVID-19 any longer.”

Iowa Department of Public Health Director Kelly Garcia obliged with new guidance urging schools and child care providers to “approach COVID-19 like other child illnesses.”

To justify abandoning precautions like mandatory face coverings and quarantines for children exposed to coronavirus, Garcia misrepresented the latest advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Continue Reading...

Key Iowa GOP lawmaker denies DC group helped write election law

A leading Republican author of Iowa’s new election law has denied that Washington, DC-based Heritage Action for America helped write or pass any part of the bill.

In a leaked video obtained by Documented and published by Mother Jones on May 13, Heritage Action’s executive director Jessica Anderson claimed the group worked “quickly” and “quietly” on the bill Governor Kim Reynolds signed in March, which limits voting in many ways.

State Representative Bobby Kaufmann, who floor managed Senate File 413 in the Iowa House, told Bleeding Heartland in a May 13 telephone interview, “Any insinuation by Heritage that they had anything to do with this bill is a bald-faced lie.”

Continue Reading...

Upside Down week for Iowa Republicans in Congress

In the natural order of things, members of Congress brag about the federal assistance they fought to obtain for their constituents.

The Republicans who represent Iowa in the U.S. House and Senate turned that formula on its head this week. Every one cheered the news that tens of thousands of Iowans will soon lose the federal government support they depend on.

Continue Reading...
View More...