Corrections department belatedly shows concern for following Iowa law

The Iowa Board of Corrections violated state law in 2019 by failing to send Governor Kim Reynolds a list of individuals qualified to serve as director of the Department of Corrections, a state audit confirmed on September 21.

Department officials assured auditors they would share the findings with the Board of Corrections and advise members of their duties under state law. Spokesperson Cord Overton told Bleeding Heartland on September 22 the department had sent board members a copy of the findings and the relevant code section.

He didn’t explain why the department failed to ensure that the board complied with the statute last year, when Marty Ryan raised concerns with the acting director.

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When pretending isn't fun

Bruce Lear explores the layers of pretense that have hampered our national, statewide, and local efforts to combat COVID-19. -promoted by Laura Belin

We love to pretend. We dress up at Halloween. We pretend there’s a Santa Claus, an Easter Bunny, and when one of our kids loses a tooth, we pretend to be the tooth fairy. It’s all in good fun, and it’s all for the pure joy of doing it.

But pretending isn’t always fun.

When American politicians at all levels exchanged pretending and pandering in a pandemic for leading, it’s deadly. Although hind sight is always 20/20, here are some examples of where our leaders surrendered to pretending.

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Five unanswered questions about Iowa governor's staff salary payments

Governor Kim Reynolds has defended her decision to use nearly $450,000 in federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to pay salaries and benefits for her permanent staffers.

But her comments at a September 16 news conference, along with information her staff provided to some reporters afterwards, left several salient questions unanswered.

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Politicians rearrange deck chairs as the S.S. Iowa hits COVID-19

Herb Strentz reviews recent comments from Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Governor Kim Reynolds. -promoted by Laura Belin

Sea-going metaphors and idioms hardly reflect life in Iowa, but may be useful in considering the double whammy that’s hit us with COVID-19 and Trump.

At least that drives this take on our U.S. senators and governor during past few weeks.  As one idiom would have it, they are rearranging the deck chairs aboard Iowa’s political and virus-ridden “Titanic.”

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Exclusive: Iowa governor used CARES Act funds to pay staff salaries

Governor Kim Reynolds directed that nearly $450,000 in federal funding the state of Iowa received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act be used to cover salaries and benefits for staff working in her office.

According to documents Bleeding Heartland obtained from the Iowa Department of Management through public records requests, the funds will cover more than 60 percent of the compensation for 21 employees from March 14 through June 30, 2020.

Reynolds has not disclosed that she allocated funds for that purpose, and reports produced by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency have not mentioned any CARES Act funding received by the governor’s office. Nor do any such disbursements appear on a database showing thousands of state government expenditures under the CARES Act.

The governor’s communications director Pat Garrett did not respond to four requests for comment over a two-week period.

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