Chet Culver to return to federal board

President Joe Biden appointed former Iowa Governor Chet Culver to the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation’s board of directors this week. Assuming Culver is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, it will be his second term on the Farmer Mac board. President Barack Obama named Culver to the board in 2011, and the Senate confirmed him by voice vote in March 2012. President Donald Trump removed Culver from the position in December 2019, replacing him with LaJuana Wilcher, the current board chair.

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On Grassley: What's the sideshow? What's the center ring?

Herb Strentz: The real story is not whether Chuck Grassley will seek re-election, but his refusal to denounce Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election. -promoted by Laura Belin

A chronic condition of the press is a tendency to focus on the sideshow instead of the main attraction—to report “what’s going on” without acknowledging “what is really going on.”

That critique comes to mind in reflecting on recent media coverage and commentary regarding U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley.

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The Fourth of July: Then and now

Herb Strentz: While our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in the interests of a new nation, many current political leaders would gag on the notion of pledging anything without considering its effects on their re-election or campaign contributions.

It can be unpleasant to compare centuries-old inspiring words with today’s Independence Day celebrations. But here we go anyway, because the photos show some people can make a mess out of July 4 fireworks the way our nation can make a mess out of democracy.

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Celebrating democracy in an age of backsliding

“What would you say if you saw it in another country?”

Dartmouth political science professor Brendan Nyhan used that catch phrase throughout Donald Trump’s presidency (up to its very last day) to highlight the president’s public comments or official acts that in any other country would be seen as warning signs of a slide toward authoritarian rule.

The thought experiment always resonated with me, because I saw it in another country.

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Grassley's credentials suggest he'll be GOP choice for Senate

Herb Strentz: Chuck Grassley could have sought to quell Republicans’ anger and the turn to violence on January 6 by speaking out early and honestly rather than “winking” at the Big Lie. -promoted by Laura Belin

If Senator Chuck Grassley opts to run for re-election in 2022, it will be because he does not have the courage or the conscience to not run.

That turns the tables on what we expect from our elected public servants. But nowadays, lacking courage and conscience seems the key to appeasing Donald Trump and satisfying the Republican base. Today’s GOP demands its acolytes swallow the “Big Lie” that Trump won the 2020 election and ignore “The Big Truth” that Trump lost the popular vote by more than 7 million ballots.

Sadly, it is no longer necessary to distinguish between the Republican Party and Trump followers — they have become one and the same.

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Iowa campaign regulator may discuss pre-checked recurring donations

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board may discuss whether to regulate campaigns pre-selecting recurring donation options, according to executive director Mike Marshall.

In May, the Federal Election Commission unanimously recommended that Congress ban the practice, which Donald Trump’s campaign used to raise enormous sums in 2020. Many of Trump’s supporters did not realize they were committing to recurring gifts and later asked for refunds or filed fraud complaints.

At least three Iowa Republican office-holders–Governor Kim Reynolds and U.S. Representatives Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks–adopted the tactic this year. Some of their fundraising pages on the WinRed platform have two boxes pre-selected: one for a recurring monthly donation, and one for an additional contribution on a specific date in the near future.

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