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Iowa Auditor’s Office Looking Into COVD-19 ‘Strike Team’ Testing After E-Mails Reveal Link Between Political Donors and Gov. Reynolds

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Gov. Kim Reynolds holds a news conference on COVID-19 and plans for vaccine distribution in Iowa on December 3, 2020. (WHO 13)

DES MOINES, Iowa – The State Auditor’s Office will take a close look at the deployment of COVID-19 testing “strike teams” after e-mails revealed a link between a company that received the testing and major donors to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

A statement from State Auditor Rob Sand’s office, released Tuesday, said public record e-mails showed strike team testing was provided to a metal-working manufacturer, owned by donors to Reynolds’ campaign, after a personal request was made to the Governor’s office.

The Auditor’s Office said testing was provided, while the public health department in that same county had its requests denied for testing at locations that it had determined had a higher need.

Auditor Sand said, “We don’t know what a review will uncover, but these emails are plain enough that a review is certainly necessary to promote transparency and encourage the most appropriate and effective pandemic response possible.”

Spokesman for Gov. Reynolds, Pat Garrett, responded to our request for comment on the Auditor’s planned review with this statement, “At a time when COVID19 testing was scarce, our teams worked around the clock to get testing to long-term care facilities, food processing facilities, and companies critical to the supply chain. This includes testing to over 50 companies and tens of thousands of workers as well as thousands of long term care residents and staff in the state of Iowa.”

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