The Iowa Campaign Ethics and Disclosure Board to examine Gov. Kim Reynolds’ coronavirus media campaign in light of allegations by Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand that she violated state law, the auditor’s office reported on Monday.
Sand released a report in late May alleging that Reynolds was seeking to “promote” through taxpayer-funded public awareness of COVID-19 “Step up, stop the spread” media campaign. The campaign started in November 2020.
Sand alleged that using over $ 150,000 in funding from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act for pay TV ads violated Iowa law prohibiting self-promotion with funds. public. Reynolds spent over $ 500,000 in federal funding for the campaign.
Reynolds said Sand’s claims ignored the governor’s power to suspend laws during a public health emergency.
“Auditor Sand has not once requested to meet with our team regarding his concern or investigation,” Reynolds chief of staff Sara Craig said in a statement. “If he had, we would have pointed out to him this essential part of the law that he clearly lacked.”
Sand said his office sent a copy of the report the day before it was published.
The next meeting of the ethics committee is August 12. The meeting agenda was not posted online, nor the meeting location.
Sand issued an addendum to his initial report on June 16 in response to Reynolds’ claims he ignored part of Iowa law.
The addendum adds three new exhibits to its demands, including the Iowa Code Auditor’s Office review discussed in Reynolds’ response and its 35 COVID-19 disaster proclamations.
Sand concluded that the governor’s emergency authority was irrelevant because the governor “… had never suspended the self-promotion law in writing as part of an emergency proclamation”, said the addendum.
The governor’s office received a copy of the addendum 24 hours before its publication. The governor’s senior legal adviser responded to the additions, saying “Our office stands by our initial statement and we do not agree with your interpretation of the law.”