Mueller's findings on Sam Clovis and a top Chuck Grassley staffer

The U.S. Department of Justice on April 18 released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election.” I’ve posted the full document after the jump. You can download it here or look through a searchable versions here or here.

Dozens of reporters and analysts have posted valuable takes on various aspects of the findings and Attorney General Bill Barr’s brazen lying about the Mueller team’s conclusions. This post will focus on angles of particular interest to Iowa readers: the roles of Sam Clovis, a former statewide candidate here who became a top foreign policy advisor for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and Barbara Ledeen, a senior staffer for U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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An army of misery forced to decamp with UnitedHealthcare's departure

John Morrissey is a longtime Des Moines resident who has investigated state spending increases, financial anomalies, and payment disruptions associated with Medicaid privatization in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

The “he said/she said” controversy between an insurance company CEO and Iowa’s governor about why UnitedHealthcare decided to leave the state’s Medicaid program might make entertaining copy, but it doesn’t address who is going to manage the care of 420,000 Iowans left in the lurch.

Nor does it address whether the remaining company (Amerigroup) is adequately prepared to handle more members, and whether a new player poised to enter our state’s Medicaid market (Iowa Total Care) has the expertise to handle special populations in Iowa such as the elderly, disabled, and very ill.

It also doesn’t consider whether the state’s traditional fee-for-service Medicaid offering has the financial wherewithal to shoulder an even larger share of the enrollment and cost. Fee-for-service was held over from the old state-run program when most of the Medicaid program was privatized in 2016. The fee-for-service program pays the claims of Iowa’s sickest and most frail Medicaid members, which the for-profit managed care organizations (MCOs) don’t want or can’t handle.

The Iowa Deparment of Human Services (DHS) did not respond to a request for comment on these issues.

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Why I'm switching from Elizabeth Warren to Pete Buttigieg

Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts about the Iowa caucuses, including candidate endorsements. Please read these guidelines before writing. -promoted by Laura Belin

Dear Reader,

It is early, perhaps far too early for someone to talk about changing their caucus vote from one candidate to another. It is arguably anyone’s race at this stage, but I feel it is critical (especially in Iowa) to give Pete Buttigieg my support early on.

I really do like Elizabeth Warren, in both policy and style. If she ends up being the nominee come November of 2020, I will gladly cast my ballot for her as I would any Democrat.

That being said, I think Pete is what America needs.

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New GOP bill would slash energy programs for low-income Iowans

Energy-efficiency programs that benefit low-income Iowans would be cut under a bill Republicans advanced today from an Iowa Senate subcommittee.

Senate Study Bill 1256 would compound the harm done by Senate File 2311, which Republicans enacted in 2018 over objections from many stakeholders. Whereas last year’s bill reduced utility companies’ required spending on energy efficiency programs with a 25-year track record, the new bill would limit allowable spending on such programs.

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Eddie Mauro considering challenge to Senator Joni Ernst in 2020 (updated)

CORRECTION: Speaking by phone on April 17, Mauro said he is considering a campaign for U.S. Senate but hasn’t decided to whether to run. He doesn’t have a time frame for making a final decision and needs to “make sure my family is on board” before weighing other factors, such as whether he “might be a viable candidate.”

Iowa Democrats may have their first candidate for the 2020 U.S. Senate race. Eddie Mauro told activists in Panora on April 16 that he will may run against first-term Republican Senator Joni Ernst, according to sources who attended the event. Guthrie County Democratic Party chair Kathy Miller told Bleeding Heartland that she invited Mauro to attend the central committee meeting after he called her on April 14 to discuss his plans.

Mauro is CEO of Des Moines-based insurance company UIG and director of Purify Project, which installs water systems in Africa. He previously ran for Iowa’s third Congressional district and finished second in the 2018 Democratic primary with 26.4 percent of the vote. Before that, he challenged State Representative Jo Oldson in the 2016 Democratic primary for Iowa House district 41. Mauro’s 2018 campaign website does not currently reference a U.S. Senate bid. I’m seeking comment from him and will update this post as needed.

Earlier this year, Mauro launched a political action committee called Midwest Victory PAC. The group’s goals include helping to defeat Ernst and support Democratic candidates for the Iowa House and Senate in 2020. Mauro was the founding chair of the Midwest Victory PAC and still holds that position, according to the PAC’s website. Once he formally declares his Senate candidacy, he will need to step aside from that role. Iowa law states that “A candidate for statewide or legislative office shall not establish, direct, or maintain a political committee.”

I enclose below additional background on Mauro and the Midwest Victory PAC.

UPDATE: After I corrected this post, several Democrats contacted me on April 17 to say that in their recent conversations with Mauro, he sounded like a definite candidate, not someone who was only considering the Senate race. A person who attended the Adair County Democratic Central Committee meeting on April 13 got the same impression from listening to Mauro. State Senator Claire Celsi said that last week, Mauro “told me he was running and asked for my support.” (Celsi represents Senate district 21, containing the Des Moines south side neighborhood where Mauro lives.)

While I understand that politicians prefer to control the timing of their rollout, prospective candidates who tell Democratic activists that they’re running should expect that word will get around.

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