Governor’s Office Says There’s Nothing Illegal About Its State Fair Booth

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IOWA STATE FAIR  —  A Des Moines lawmaker says Governor Reynolds is breaking the law with her booth at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, but the Governor’s office and the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board disagree.

State Representative Brian Meyer (D-Des  Moines) posted a picture of the Reynolds booth on Facebook Tuesday morning accusing the Governor of violating a new state law.  “Kim Reynolds and the Republicans in the legislature passed a law prohibiting the use of taxpayer funded fair booths with elected officials` images on them,” Meyer wrote, “Guess who violated the law?”

The law he’s referring to bars the use of public money for any publication, promotion or exhibit that features the likeness of an elected official.  Meyer says the Governor’s booth, which features multiple photos of the Governor, violates the law.

However the Governor’s office says it is not a violation because the law only prohibits the production of materials after the law took effect.  The Governor’s office says it is re-using previously produced materials and that is not illegal.

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board agrees.  On July 13th the Board released an advisory opinion on the new law.  In that opinion the Board states:

“Notably the statute does not bar the use of certain items bearing the written name, voice or likeness of an elected official. Rather, it prohibits “the expenditure of public moneys” for certain things. For items that were previously purchased, there is no expenditure to be prohibited on or after July 1, 2018.”

Read the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board’s Full Report

Meyer responded to that defense on Facebook by saying the Governor is using a “lawyer’s dodge”.  Democrats challenge the new law was written specifically to target Democratic State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald and his mailing and commercials promoting the state’s 529 College Savings Plan.

 

 

 

 

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