Grassley, Ernst silent as Trump, Barr continue purge

Another Friday night has brought another irregular ouster of a federal official whose work should be insulated from politics.

Four days later, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, a self-styled warrior for oversight and accountability in Washington, has said nothing. Neither has Senator Joni Ernst, who like Grassley serves on the committee that oversees the justice system.

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No end to the bizarre antics--and the irony--of Donald Trump

Herb Strentz reflects on the president’s June 20 rally in Tulsa. -promoted by Laura Belin

In a fitting start to his re-election campaign, President Donald Trump gave a stump speech riddled with falsity. And in keeping with the bizarre nature of the Trump presidency, he did so in an arena known by the same name as a world-renowned scholar on the importance of being truthful.

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Chuck Grassley can't quit covering for Trump on Russia

For the fourth time in less than two months, President Donald Trump has fired an inspector general who had stirred up trouble for him or his political allies.

Iowa’s senior Senator Chuck Grassley has championed whistleblowers and inspectors general for decades. Yet just like last month, he declined to condemn Trump’s retaliatory move. Grassley didn’t mention State Department Inspector General Steve Linick’s dismissal on his widely-viewed Twitter feed this weekend. Meanwhile, his office released a statement that dinged Linick for not looking into “the State Department’s role in advancing the debunked Russian collusion investigation.”

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Baseball scandal shows how low we go

Tom Witosky was an investigative reporter for the Des Moines Register in politics, sports, and business for 33 years prior to his early retirement in 2012. He is also the co-author of Equal Before the Law: How Iowa led Americans to Marriage Equality. -promoted by Laura Belin

It’s time we all acknowledge one single truth about what we have done to our country: We’ve lost our moral authority.

And we are all to blame for it no matter which side of the political spectrum you sit.

How do I know that?

It’s simple really. It’s about baseball.

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AP pulls back curtain on coordination between Ernst aides, dark money

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst introduced a potential major donor to one of her campaign’s fundraisers, who later asked that person for a “an investment of $50,000” in a dark money group backing Ernst’s re-election, Brian Slodysko reported for the Associated Press on December 6.

Slodysko’s scoop uncovered what may be illegal coordination between the Ernst campaign and the Iowa Values group, which can accept unlimited contributions without disclosing donors.

It wasn’t the first time Ernst’s campaign ventured into a gray area.

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A few thoughts on campaign donations and Iowa caucus endorsements

Former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy resigned as state political director for Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign on November 8, a day after Alexandra Jaffe reported for the Associated Press that Murphy “privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing his White House bid, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the conversations.”

Among politically active Iowans, reaction to Jaffe’s scoop ranged from anger to disappointment to a shrug: “Isn’t this long accepted practice?”

No. While presidential hopefuls and their affiliated committees have often donated to Democratic candidates and party organizations, hoping for future support, it is rare for anyone to dangle a possible donation in exchange for an endorsement.

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