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August 30th, 2013

Staci Appel Breaks the Law – The Weekly Round Up

Congressional candidates are required to file a financial disclosure statement once they qualify as a candidate. If you qualify as a candidate during a non-election (generally an odd-numbered) year, then you must file a financial disclosure statement within 30 days of becoming a candidate or by May 15 of that year, whichever is later.

Staci Appel filed candidacy paperwork on July 3rd of this year thereby requiring her to report her financial disclosure no more than 30 days later.

Since her filing, Appel has had plenty of time to roll out a snazzy online web video, attend softball speaking engagements put on by the ultra-left Emily’s List, drive to county committee meetings, and send out a combination of nearly a dozen emails and letters asking for donations to her campaign.

What she apparently didn’t have time to do – and what she decided to ignore – was one of the most basic requirements of congressional candidates – filing her personal financial disclosure within that 30 day window mandated by law.

She ignored the law and decided that she would give herself an additional 90 days before she would publically report this information – illegally extending her deadline by a quarter of a year.

The question is – what does Staci Appel have to hide in her personal finances?  Is there an accountant feverishly working to do some interesting math and playing a shell game before she finally submits the required document?  Why would a candidate who claims to be the standard bearer of “plain old Iowa common sense” decide that she is above the rules asked of everyone else who runs for congress?  Iowa common sense means that you follow the rules – not break them.

Appel is best known for her nanny state approach to legislating – making sure that the government tells you best how to run your life.  It appears that nanny state Staci Appel believes that the rules simply don’t apply to her.

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Scott Bailey Hurts His Own Cause

A socially conservative member of the Judicial Nominating Committee made a fool of himself last week and in doing so also hurt the very causes and beliefs that he so deeply holds.  Scott Bailey, the vice president of the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, thought it was appropriate to ask one of the nominees for an opening on the Iowa Court of Appeals if she was breaking her marriage vows by not moving with her spouse who recently took a job in Connecticut.

What that has to do with her qualifications to be a judge on the Iowa Court of Appeals is beyond me.  Last I checked, neither the Iowa Constitution nor the U.S. Constitution excludes people in long-distance relationships from serving on the bench.

Bailey asked the question to Jeanie Vaudt, the wife of former State Auditor Dave Vaudt.  Dave Vaudt is serving a six-year term as Chairman of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.  It’s a prestigious appointment that requires a lot of travel.  It only makes sense that the Vaudts want to keep their Iowa home, especially considering Mrs. Vaudt’s aspiration to be a judge.  Like her husband, Mrs. Vaudt is a classy individual who takes her profession quite seriously.

Liberals and the media were quick to pounce on Bailey’s inappropriate question and are having a heyday with it.  Many conservatives felt the judicial nominating process in Iowa was poor when it was full of Democrat appointees, but now we see the system just flawed.  Perhaps our Governors should do a better job of vetting the individuals they appoint to the judicial nominating commission.  The circus created by Bailey doesn’t do anybody any good, and is especially embarrassing for the Governor who appointed him.

Oh, and by the way, Justice David Wiggins also has a knack for asking inappropriate questions to judicial candidates.  In 2011, Wiggins felt it was necessary to ask candidates about their feelings on retention election that ousted three of his colleagues, a question wholly inappropriate and unrelated to the candidates’ qualifications.  Where were the liberals when that happened?

A Picture is Worth How Many Votes?

U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst continues to impress me.  The race is still in its infancy, but it’s clear that Ernst knows exactly what she is doing.  What is so amazing to me is that the other candidates seem clueless.  At last weekend’s Second Amendment Rally, Ernst was not attended but made sure that others know she is passionate about defending our Second Amendment Rights.

The key isn’t just to attend events like these, it’s also to make sure people know you where there.  Pictures like these are gold.  Why I have not seen the other candidates in these sorts of shots is surprising.

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GOP Senate Candidates Playing Nice With Each Other

If I had to select a theme song for the Republican U.S. Senate race, my pick would be Kumbaya.  At an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Dubuque, the four official candidates in the race kept complimenting each other and saying how conservative they all are.  Comradery is great, but at the end of the day, only one person will win the nomination.

This is how I ranked the four candidates from that event.

1. Joni Ernst – Ernst has the confidence one expects from a statewide candidate, but she’s also not afraid to talk about her conservative convictions and controversial issues.  As the only female in the race, she is obviously different from the other three guys, which is an advantage.  Consider this, when Ernst stated that she is pro-life from conception to natural death and opposes gay marriage, the conservative audience applauded her.  When Sam Clovis said the same thing earlier, he just got a few head nods and no applause.  Hey boys, if you keep playing nice, Ernst is going to run away with this race.

2. Matt Whitaker – Whitaker impressed me in Dubuque.  A week ago Thursday, he was the gregarious candidate we all expected when he announced his candidacy.  What really impressed me was his willingness to disagree with a questioner’s point of view on a topic.  While the other candidates were all agreement on the death penalty, Whitaker wasn’t all for it.  When asked about repealing the 17th Amendment, Whitaker disagreed and explained why.

3. Sam Clovis – Clovis was the lead cheerleader for the Republican U.S. Senate field.  Look, I know people like it when people get along and are respectful to their opponents, but if Clovis is serious about winning, he needs to be viewed as the conservative in the race.  Validating his opponent’s conservative credentials is the last thing he should be doing.  I doubt they are saying flattering things to people about him when he’s not around.

4. David Young – Young is intelligent, a hard worker, and pleasant to be around, but I just find it difficult viewing him as a U.S. Senate candidate.  His soft-spoken nature means that the others in the race overshadow him at times.  Having never ran for office before and never having been in the political spotlight, he may still be trying to find his grove on the campaign trail.

Was RPI Hacked?



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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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