# Nick Klinefeldt

This one neat trick saved Tom Miller's candidacy

Attorney General Tom Miller can remain on the Democratic primary ballot, the State Objection Panel affirmed on March 29, after determining his campaign had collected at least 77 valid signatures in eighteen counties, as required by Iowa law.

If he had been knocked off the ballot, Miller could have been nominated at the Iowa Democratic Party’s statewide convention in June. However, failing to qualify would have been an embarrassing misstep for a longtime office-holder.

Almost all of the legal arguments Miller’s representative advanced failed to convince a majority of the three panel members: Secretary of State Paul Pate, Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, and State Auditor Rob Sand. But one neat trick forced the two Republicans to accept enough Story County signatures for the campaign to cross the threshold.

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Three ways Mark Smith can restore faith in the Iowa Democratic Party

The Iowa Democratic Party released revised Iowa caucus results on the evening of February 18, following a recanvass of 79 precincts. Recanvass administrators changed delegate allocations in 26 precincts where the precinct chair did not properly apply the party’s rules on February 3, and revised results in three precincts after spotting data entry errors.

The adjustments shrank Pete Buttigieg’s delegate lead over Bernie Sanders to “almost nothing,” a Sanders news release declared: 563.207 state delegate equivalents to 563.127, to be precise. The Sanders campaign will request a recount in several precincts where results were not adjusted during the recanvass.

While the work of tabulating the Iowa caucus numbers nears its end, the work of restoring confidence in the process is just beginning. Events of the past few weeks exposed serious flaws in the party’s operations.

After being chosen to succeed Troy Price as state party chair on February 15, State Representative Mark Smith told reporters, “Priority number one is to get out across the state and to talk to everyday Iowans and restore the faith in the Iowa Democratic Party.” A few places he could start:

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U.S. Attorney Nick Klinefeldt stepping down, not running in IA-03

 photo Nick Kleinefeldt_zpsegllmkdr.jpg

After six years as U.S. attorney for Iowa’s Southern District, Nick Klinefeldt will leave that position next month to go back to private law practice. I enclose below the full press release on his departure. Among other things, the former defense attorney highlighted his work on national committees “to update and expand discovery policies to ensure defendants [in federal courts] receive all of the information they need to adequately defend themselves, and revamp sentencing practices to ensure the end result of a prosecution is fair.” He also

developed a comprehensive discovery policy for the Southern District of Iowa that ensures criminal defendants receive even more information about the case against them than is required by the rules and that they receive it quickly. This policy included the development of a Stipulated Discovery and Protective Order that is now universally used in all criminal cases across the district. United States Attorney Klinefeldt also changed the way the office utilized mandatory minimum sentences, to ensure that they were only used when absolutely necessary.

U.S. House race-watchers had their eye on Klinefeldt earlier this year as a possible Democratic candidate in Iowa’s third Congressional district, but I have never heard of Klinefeldt signaling any intention to run. In recent weeks, the local Democratic establishment has been consolidating around Jim Mowrer, one of two declared challengers to first-term Representative David Young. Today Klinefeldt confirmed that he is not planning to run for Congress, Grant Rodgers reported for the Des Moines Register.

UPDATE: Michael Gartner wrote an excellent commentary on Klinefeldt’s record for the Des Moines-based weekly Cityview. Scroll to the end of this post for excerpts.

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Jim Mowrer joins Democratic primary in IA-03

Iraq War veteran Jim Mowrer, the 2014 Democratic challenger to Representative Steve King in Iowa’s fourth district, announced this morning that he is running for Congress in Iowa’s third district. Earlier this year, Mowrer moved his family from Boone to Des Moines. I’ve enclosed his campaign’s statement after the jump, which lists 19 endorsers. Five are state legislators (two representing districts in IA-03), and five lead Democratic Party committees in IA-03 counties.

Speaking to Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register, Mowrer said he started thinking about running for Congress again a few months ago, when “a good friend” (Beau Biden) died: “That was another reminder of how fleeting life can be and we need to take action to change our world while we have the opportunity to do so.” Mowrer has known the Biden family for a long time; he chaired the Iowa veterans committee backing Joe Biden for president before the 2008 caucuses.

Earlier this year, Mowrer ran for Iowa Democratic Party state chair and was elected first vice chair. He confirmed to Bleeding Heartland that he resigned from that position this morning.

At this writing, Mowrer’s campaign website Jim for Iowa consists of a landing page, a volunteer sign-up form, a contribution button, and a link to the candidate’s biography. I assume issue positions and other information will be added soon. Mowrer is on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Mowrer raised an impressive amount of money for his 2014 campaign against King, more than $2.1 million. So he starts this effort with an unusually large e-mail list of supporters and contributors. He may not match his 2014 fundraising levels, since IA-03 GOP incumbent David Young is neither as well-known as King, nor hated by Democrats across the country. But Mowrer will surely raise enough money to run a competitive district-wide race.

Mowrer will have at least one rival in the Democratic primary: Desmund Adams. State Senator Matt McCoy took himself out of the running last week. Simone Pathe reported for Roll Call on August 14 that some Democrats are recruiting U.S. Attorney Nick Klinefeldt to run in IA-03, and that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included both Klinefelt and Mowrer in a recent poll. According to Pathe, that poll did not test former Governor Chet Culver, who said earlier this year that he was thinking about running for Congress. I don’t know any local Democrats who expect Culver to get in to this race at this point.

The latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office indicate that the sixteen counties in IA-03 contain 150,997 active registered Democrats, 163,107 Republicans, and 163,172 no-party voters.

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IA-03: Two questions for Democrats seeking alternatives to Matt McCoy

Iowa’s first U.S. House district will be the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s top pickup opportunity in Iowa next year, but the third district will be on the DCCC’s target list as well. Recognizing the competitive nature of IA-03, the National Republican Congressional Committee has put first-term Representative David Young in its incumbent protection program. However, Washington insiders are not keen on State Senator Matt McCoy, one of several Democrats who may challenge Young.

I’m not sold on any candidate for this race and won’t make up my mind until after the Democratic field has been set. That said, Democrats could do a lot worse than McCoy. I challenge those who would dismiss him as a credible challenger to answer two questions.

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Harkin recommends O'Brien, Romano, Klinefeldt for federal judgeships

Two federal judges in Iowa plan to retire next year, and U.S. Senator Tom Harkin has recommended that President Barack Obama choose among three possible replacements. Cedar Rapids-based attorney Dave O’Brien is Harkin’s choice to replace U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett, who presides in Sioux City. O’Brien finished fifth in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa’s first Congressional district. I’ve posted background on his legal credentials after the jump.

Harkin suggested two possible nominees for the position to be vacated by James Gritzner, chief district judge for Iowa’s Southern District: Polk County District Court Judge Karen Romano and Nick Klinefeldt, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District. A former prosecutor in Polk County, Romano became an Iowa District Associate judge in 1996 and a District Court judge in 2001. She has been on Harkin’s short list before, and I’ve posted more background on her after the jump.

I hope Obama chooses Romano to fill this vacancy, as she has much more relevant experience than Klinefeldt. On Harkin’s recommendation, Obama appointed Klinefeldt to be U.S. attorney in 2009. The Senate confirmed him to that position about four and a half years ago. His official bio is below as well.

Romano was in the news last November after her ruling put a temporary stay on the Iowa Board of Medicine’s rule banning the use of telemedicine to provide abortion drugs to Iowa women. Social conservatives including Bob Vander Plaats’ FAMiLY Leader organization threw a fit, but I have little doubt that the state board’s rule will not stand up in court when Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit is heard on the merits.

Ryan Foley of the Associated Press observed, “It is unusual for Iowa, a state that only has five active district judges, to have two pending vacancies for the lifetime judicial positions at the same time.”

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Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 2)

Following up on my review of news from the first half of last year, I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from July through December 2009 after the jump.

Hot topics on this blog during the second half of the year included the governor’s race, the special election in Iowa House district 90, candidates announcing plans to run for the state legislature next year, the growing number of Republicans ready to challenge Representative Leonard Boswell, state budget constraints, and a scandal involving the tax credit for film-making.

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Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 1)

I expected 2009 to be a relatively quiet year in Iowa politics, but was I ever wrong.

The governor’s race heated up, state revenues melted down, key bills lived and died during the legislative session, and the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Varnum v Brien became one of this state’s major events of the decade.

After the jump I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from January through June 2009. Any comments about the year that passed are welcome in this thread.

Although I wrote a lot of posts last year, there were many important stories I didn’t manage to cover. I recommend reading Iowa Independent’s compilation of “Iowa’s most overlooked and under reported stories of 2009,” as well as that blog’s review of “stories that will continue to impact Iowa in 2010.”

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Senate confirms new U.S. attorneys for Iowa

Yesterday the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Stephanie Rose and Nick Klinefeldt to be the U.S. Attorneys in Iowa’s northern and southern districts, respectively. Senator Tom Harkin recommended Rose and Klinefeldt for those positions in March, and President Barack Obama nominated them in September.

Some defense and immigration attorneys criticized Rose’s nomination because of her role in last year’s Postville prosecutions. Harkin and Senator Chuck Grassley defended Rose’s qualifications for the U.S. attorney position.

I still think the Senate Judiciary Committee should have thoroughly examined the treatment of Postville detainees before voting to confirm Rose. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in May that “federal prosecutors have inappropriately used aggravated identity theft laws to prosecute undocumented workers.” Most of the fast-track Postville prosecutions were identity-theft cases. I sincerely hope that under Rose’s leadership, the U.S. Attorney’s office in the northern district will treat alleged illegal immigrants more fairly in the future.

Main Justice posted a short bio of Klinefeldt here and a short bio of Rose here. Those pages include links to the nominees’ full Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaires (pdf files).

Iowa's U.S. attorney nominees move to Senate floor

Iowans Nick Klinefeldt and Stephanie Rose were among three U.S. attorney nominees the Senate Judiciary Committee approved today by unanimous consent, the Main Justice blog reported. Their nominations still need to be confirmed by the full Senate, but that is likely to be a formality. In March, Senator Tom Harkin recommended Klinefeldt for the U.S. attorney position in Iowa’s southern district and Rose for the position in Iowa’s northern district. President Barack Obama nominated the two last month.

Main Justice posted a short bio of Klinefeldt here and a short bio of Rose here. Those pages include links to the nominees’ full Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaires (pdf files).

A Bleeding Heartland reader who watched today’s committee meeting tells me that Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy asked if there were any objections to the nominations, and none were raised. Senator Chuck Grassley told his colleagues that he “had interviewed both Iowa nominees –he praised Harkin’s selections and both nominees–he asked that a statement he prepared be made part of the record but did not read the statement.”

I expected the Senate Judiciary Committee to question Rose about her role in last year’s prosecutions of hundreds of undocumented workers from Postville. Harkin has defended her on the grounds that officials senior to Rose made the key policy decisions. Even so, Rose should have been asked about the cases and how they might have been handled differently. As things stand, I agree with critics who say promoting Rose without asking serious questions “would constitute a stamp of approval on the Postville debacle.”

Professor Erik Camayd-Freixas, a Spanish-language court interpreter, has spoken and written at length about injustice he observed in the aftermath of the Postville raid:

Professor Camayd-Freixas wrote that the immigrant defendants whose words he translated, most of them villagers from Guatemala, did not fully understand the criminal charges they were facing or the rights most of them had waived.

In the essay and an interview, Professor Camayd-Freixas said he was taken aback by the rapid pace of the proceedings and the pressure prosecutors brought to bear on the defendants and their lawyers by pressing criminal charges instead of deporting the workers immediately for immigration violations.

He said defense lawyers had little time or privacy to meet with their court-assigned clients in the first hectic days after the raid. Most of the Guatemalans could not read or write, he said. Most did not understand that they were in criminal court.

Click here to watch a video interview of Camayd-Freixas or download his 14-page essay about his experience with the Postville detainees. Rose may have the skills to be a good U.S. attorney, but it bothers me that the Senate Judiciary Committee has just indicated that they have no concerns or objections about last year’s events in Iowa. That’s a bad message to send to U.S. attorneys everywhere.

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Obama nominates Rose, Klinefeldt for U.S. attorney posts

A full six months after Senator Tom Harkin recommended Stephanie Rose and Nick Klinefeldt for the U.S. attorney positions in Iowa’s northern and southern districts, President Barack Obama sent Rose’s and Klinefeldt’s names to the Senate for confirmation. Radio Iowa posted the September 25 press release from the White House.

I don’t know when the Senate Judiciary Committee will take up these nominations. Some advocates have objected to Rose’s nomination because of civil liberties and due process violations in the wake of last year’s immigration raid in Postville. Senators should thoroughly explore Rose’s role in the Postville prosecutions during her confirmation hearing. Harkin’s office has defended Rose’s record and her work with the detainees from Postville.

IOWA "U.S. Attorney Candidate Rises Above Father's Past"

Doesn’t the potential United States Attorney appointment of Nick Klinefeldt create many situations that raise not only ethical challenges and issues but the appearance of ethical issues not to mention a great deal of unnecessary work to overcome those challenges?  Is this the best candidate Iowa and Senator Harkin really have for this important job? His own firm won’t make him a partner but he gets nominated to lead a powerful group of high octane veteran prosecutors?

A young inexperienced attorney –whose resume appears to be mighty puny to begin with–is going to take over the same USA office that prosecuted his own father for a drug crime?

His father was brought down by a multi-agency Iowa drug task force the USA Office he will not lead works with on a daily basis?

His father was represented by the Federal Public Defender who routinely is assigned cases prosecuted by that same USA office?  

His father was sentenced by a US Federal Judge in the same  Federal District that the USA office works before?

Won’t these and many other situations cause his decisions and relationships to be questioned at every turn? Won’t he have to rescue himself in many important situations?

This young man appears to have overcome some great parental challenges to become an attorney. Good for him.  But why does he have to be a USA at this point?  Why put him in this untenable situation? Why put everyone else who works in important job in the USA office and law enforcement who bring in the bad guys  not to mention  the public in this  “awkward”  situation?  The guy is only 35 and appears to have not much experience beyond being a friend of the Senator.  If he is that great of talent –why not at least put him in a different District maybe Northern Iowa?

Why did this story get reported in a National on-Line Blog and not by   any Iowa media? Isn’t there a controversy about Harkin’s other US Attorney nominee also-I thought I saw a Harkin OP-ED about that?

What is Senator Harkin doing? With so many national issues for him to deal with is his head really in the game on these important kinds of Iowa appointments?

Looking over the Main Justice Blog -it appears most Senators nominated at least three names to the White House for these appointments. Why did Harkin only submit one name? What did Grassley do in 2001?


Found: Mon Sep 14 21:19:23 2009 PDT

Webpage: http://www.mainjustice.com/200…

Newshawk: http://drugpolicycentral.com/bot/

A U.S. Attorney Candidate Rises Above Father’s Past – Main Justice A U.S. Attorney Candidate Rises Above Father’s Past – Main Justice

Main Justice

A U.S. Attorney Candidate Rises Above Father’s Past

The Midwest has been hit hard by meth. Law enforcement devotes significant resources to combatting the illegal drug. All of which puts Des Moines lawyer Nick Klinefeldt, who is Sen. Tom Harkin’s choice for Iowa Southern District U.S. Attorney, in an unusual position.

Klinefeldt’s father, Michael Arthur Klinefeldt, is serving a 10-year sentence on a methamphetamine conviction, according to court records. Nick Klinefeldt declined to comment. A spokesman for Harkin said the candidate’s father’s conviction isn’t an issue. “It is Nick, not his father, who is up for consideration,” Bergen Kenny wrote in an e-mail. “Senator Harkin believes that Nick will fully and fairly enforce the law and should be considered for U.S. Attorney based on his credentials.”

The elder Klinefeldt is slated to be released from federal prison in 2012.

Klinefeldt is a former aide to Harkin. He also served as general counsel for the Iowa Democratic party until earlier this year and as a lawyer for the Obama for President campaign in Iowa, according to the Iowa Independent, which reported in March that Harkin had recommended him for the U.S. Attorney post.

Nick Klinefeldt (Ahlers & Cooney)

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa regularly oversees prosecutions of methamphetamine manufacturers and users. The office announced 14 successful meth-related prosecutions this year, including four convictions last month.

The elder Klinefeldt was nabbed in a 2002 incident, according to court documents. On an October evening seven years ago, Michael Arthur Klinefeldt and another man, identified as William Jon DeMoss Jr., were riding in a minivan that contained a meth lab. (Read the criminal complaint here and other court documents here.) Acting on a tip, a deputy in the Polk County Sherriff’s Office stopped the van.

The police officer reported the van smelled of ether and ammonia — substances used to manufacture meth. A analysis showed the lab produced more than 5 grams of meth and had the materials necessary to make more of the drug.

A camouflage fanny pack with a loaded .22 caliber revolver in it was also discovered in the vehicle. Klinefeldt told the police officer that DeMoss wore the fanny pack when they were making the meth in a Des Moines forest, records show.

A federal judge sentenced Klinefeldt to prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. This was his second meth-related conviction. Klinefeldt was also convicted in 1993 for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

Tom Harkin (Gov)

Harkin recommended Nick Klinefeldt to replace the current U.S. Attorney, Matthew G. Whitaker, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2004.

Klinefeldt, 35, works in the general litigation department of Des Moines law firm Ahlers & Cooney. He is not a partner at his firm. He previously practiced complex civil and criminal litigation in Boston.

The U.S. Attorney candidate clerked for U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa Judge Robert W. Pratt from 2000 to 2002 and Massachusetts Appeals Court Chief Justice Christopher J. Armstrong and Justice Benjamin Kaplan from 2002 to 2003.

He also has strong ties to Harkin, having worked for the senator’s 1996 reelection campaign and on his Senate staff before attending law school at the University of Iowa, according to the Radio Iowa blog. In 2008, he donated $500 to Harkin’s campaign and $500 to the Obama presidential campaign, records show. He also gave $1000 to the Iowa Democratic Party between 2007 and 2008.

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Harkin recommends Rose, Klinefeldt for U.S. attorney jobs

Senator Tom Harkin nominated two very different candidates for the U.S. attorney positions in Iowa. His nominee for the Northern District of Iowa is Stephanie Rose, who has worked in the office she will run for more than a decade. Harkin’s office noted that Rose

“has served as lead counsel in more than 260 criminal felony cases and as associate counsel on over 50 federal cases.  She also has argued before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals 34 times. During her tenure as a federal prosecutor she has earned a national reputation within the Department of Justice as one of the nation’s leading prosecutors of illegal Internet pharmacy cases.”

Rose will also be the first woman U.S. attorney in Iowa since Roxanne Conlin served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District from 1977 to 1981. Lynda Waddington has more about Rose at Iowa Independent.

Harkin’s choice for the Southern District is Nick Klinefeldt, who has some background in criminal law but no experience as a federal prosecutor. The Des Moines Register quoted Harkin as saying, “I can tell you right now, the political considerations were not the deciding factor, considering some of the people who did not get it.” (Many well-connected people sought the nomination for the Southern District, including former Iowa Public Safety Commissioner Kevin Techau, former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Gordon Fischer and Gov. Chet Culver’s director of drug control policy, Gary Kendall, as well as Iowa Assistant Attorney General Donn Stanley and Tom Henderson, chairman of the Polk County Democrats.)

That said, Klinefeldt has a much more “political” resume than Rose. He is both a former Harkin staffer and a former clerk of a judge who is close to Harkin. He has also represented the Iowa Democratic Party and various Democratic candidates. Which is not to say Klinefeldt won’t do an excellent job as U.S. attorney. I doubt he’ll let partisan concerns influence his office, which would be an improvement on the George W. Bush appointee who prosecuted a Democratic state senator in Iowa on very thin evidence.

The White House has not decided yet how it will handle the U.S. attorney appointments, according to the Washington Post. It’s possible that President Obama will leave some Bush appointees in place. However, the president usually goes along with the recommendations of a U.S. senator from the president’s party on these matters. President Bush’s Iowa appointees were recommended by Senator Chuck Grassley, for instance. I would be very surprised if Obama did not nominate both Rose and Klinefeldt.

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