When the Pentagon made a recommendation in February to eliminate the F-16 combat aircraft unit based at the Des Moines airport, Iowa’s congressional delegation quickly and unanimously criticized the proposal.
In these hyper-partisan times, there are not many things that Iowa’s congressional delegation and Governor Branstad agree on, but saving the 132nd and the nearly 500 jobs it creates in central Iowa was an issue everyone from Senator Tom Harkin on the left, to Congressman Steve King on the right agreed upon. From the time that it became known that the Pentagon wanted to eliminate the 132nd, Iowa’s representatives along with Governor Branstad have been fighting the cuts and presenting alternative options to the Obama Administration.
While the entire delegation was quick to voice their displeasure with the proposed cuts, Congressman Leonard Boswell also decided to use the unfortunate circumstances of the 132nd to boost his re-election effort in the newly reconstructed 3rd Congressional District.
Unlike the rest of the delegation, Boswell’s campaign began a petition drive to support the 132nd. The decision to conduct the petition drive through Boswell’s campaign and not his congressional office seemed like an odd decision, until it his campaign followed up with those who had signed the petition by soliciting them for campaign funds.
Below is the original email that went to Boswell’s entire campaign email list. It’s important to note that the Congressman’s office never emailed people on his congressional email list about the proposed cuts to the 132nd Fighter Wing, only his campaign did.
Someone who received the petition request from the Boswell campaign signed the petition with a brand new email address that had never been used before. After signing the petition, the Boswell campaign responded with an email thanking the person for signing the petition and also encouraged them to forward it to friends and family so that they could also stand with the men and women of the 132nd.
The “Support the 132nd – Spread the Word” email above was sent on March 1st. This past Monday, Boswell’s finance director, Justin Lamorte, sent an email out to their email database, which included the people who had only signed the petition to save the 132nd Fighter Wing. Lamorte’s email was a request for contributions to the Boswell campaign. The email stated that the campaign was just $7,000 short of meeting its fundraising goal. The email also included the line, “A strong showing this quarter will send a loud message to Latham and his cronies: Iowa’s 3rd District is not for sale.”
The insinuation that Tom Latham is trying to buy the 3rd Congressional District is laughable when you realize that the Boswell campaign made the deliberate decision to use the situation regarding the 132nd to find new people to solicit for donations to his campaign.
Congressman Boswell, a Veteran himself, should be ashamed of himself for trying to raise money off of those people who signed his petition in support of the 132nd Fighter Wing. It’s disappointing to see what has been an example of bipartisan cooperation be turned into a campaign ploy for money by the Boswell campaign.
Boswell should apologize to the men and women of the 132nd for trying to fundraise off of their misfortune. These soldiers and reservists have sacrificed by serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. The least we could do is not use them as political pawns back home. These are trying times for these patriotic Iowans who face a real possibility of losing their jobs due to the cuts, yet Boswell is trying to capitalize on their hardship by raising money for his congressional campaign. How disappointing.
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