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October 30th, 2010

Iowa GOP Calls for Investigation into AG Miller’s Ethically-Challenged Fundraising

Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn today called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller funding his re-election campaign through loans from two of his employees who receive taxpayer-funded salaries.

This morning the Des Moines Register reports Miller said he needed the money for cash-flow purposes to buy advertising. Chairman Strawn said, “With Miller’s admission that he needed the money, and because the loans came from deputy attorneys general who could lose their jobs if Miller isn’t re-elected, it is important to find out if Miller asked for or coerced the employees to loan him nearly 100-thousand dollars.”

According to the Iowa Code, section 721.2, it appears to be illegal for an elected official to use their office to demand or coerce an employee to give something of value.

Strawn said, “Clearly it would be a conflict of interest for the Attorney General’s office to investigate the circumstances surrounding the loan agreement, so today I am calling for a special investigation.”

Strawn outlined five questions that Iowans need answered:

1.       Whose idea was it to loan the campaign $95,000?

2.       Where did Jeff Thompson’s $75,000 come from? His salary is only $120,000 per year.

3.       Tom Miller controls the wages to these employees. If these employees receive a raise or bonus, how will Iowa taxpayers be assured their tax dollars are not being used to repay a campaign debt?

4.       Did Tom Miller or anyone in his office use official resources to arrange the campaign loans? The Iowa GOP will file a public records request on Monday, to determine if official resources were used to arrange these campaign loans.

5.       Why did Tom Miller accept a loan from his employees? It is certainly poor judgment to be indebted nearly $100,000 to people he is supervising.

Strawn said, “It is time to clean up the Attorney General’s office. While Tom Miller likes to talk about removing politics from his office, his actions clearly show otherwise.”

As examples, Strawn cited that Tom Miller wouldn’t let Governor Chet Culver fire Lynn Walding, one of Miller’s former top staffers, when problems were discovered in the Alcoholic Beverages Division.  Miller also approved allowing Donn Stanley to take a leave of absence from the Attorney General’s office to manage Chet Culver’s re-election campaign. Now, Miller is in debt to employees who report to him, and who are paid a salary with taxpayer dollars.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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The Iowa Republican

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