Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds received approval from an ethics regulator to fly with her family to Iowa State’s bowl game free of charge on the jet of a state vendor, despite a law barring public officials and their relatives from accepting gifts, a review by The Associated Press shows.
Reynolds flew to Tennessee to watch the Cyclones play in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 30 on a plane owned by Sedgwick, a Memphis-based company that administers workers’ compensation claims filed by injured state employees. Reynolds’ office received approval from the state ethics board director to accept the flight for herself and three family members as a campaign donation from Sedgwick’s CEO, who says he reimbursed his company for the plane’s use. Her office said “bona fide campaign events” would take place during the brief, half-day trip, records show.
The unreported flight and other countries that the Republican governor took on the aircraft of the company were examined before the November 6 elections, when Reynolds was looking for a four-year term against Democrat Fred Hubbell. Iowa Ethics and the Campaign Disclosure Board will assess complaints next week and suggest that board staff will allow Reynolds and previous managers to clearly explain the aircraft in such a way as to mask the role of the institution they lend.
Director Megan Tooker learned on December 9th that Reynolds and his family could accept a plane, but Tooker no longer knew that the plane belonged to Sedgwick. Tooker also doesn’t know that he doesn’t know what kind of campaign activity Reynolds is doing on the journey, and that it will be necessary for a public official to be seen as an allowable campaign contribution instead of an illegal gift.
Reynolds campaign spokesman Pat Garrett said the trip included “campaign donor meetings” and the governor personally paid for the game ticket. He said that the campaign had reported it as a personal in-kind contribution.
For a long time, Sedgwick CEO Dave North said his wife had paid Sedgwick back for the fair market value of the flight set by the general adviser of the company – Reynolds’ campaign was set at $ 2,880. He lives in Bellevue in the north and is one of the largest campaign donors in Reynolds, who has had $ 110,000 since December 2016. In addition, the board of trustees of the University of Memphis lost the team leader Ciklon 21-20.
Iowa residence Nancy Dugan complains to the ethics committee that there is no evidence that all donors actually pay back their companies for campaign flights. Otherwise, flights will be illegal corporate campaign contributions under the laws of Iowa. If they do, Dugan argues that campaigns should expose the company as a payback lender.
Since 2001, Sedgwick has fulfilled claims by workers in the state of Iowa to the workers opened by branch employees. The company received $ 1.4 million for its work, data fair last year, and is one of the largest third-party executives of worker compensation benefits nationwide. The company is routinely confronted with claims that unlawfully delay or benefit from lawyers for damaged workers.
Bir Someone who has this job in front of the state should not be too close to the governor. I think it’s a conflict of interest, ”says Sara Riley, a personal injury lawyer who sees Sedgwick as one of the most prominent executives in the industry.
Riley and other workers’ compensation lawyers said that Sedgwick would benefit from a 2017 law amendment, which was supported by Reynolds and reduced the benefits provided to some injured workers.
Sedgwick has also received more than $ 1 million in funding and tax cuts since 2006 for office projects that add jobs in the records of Coralville, Dubuque and Bellevue, Iowa Economic Development Agency. The latest assistance was approved in 2012 as deputy governor of Reynolds.
Colin Smith, a lawyer in the governor’s office, asked Tooker’s guidance in an e-mail on December 8 that Reynolds could accept a flight to a bowl game paid by an anonymous donor. Tooker acknowledged that Reynolds and her husband could accept flights to “campaign” and that other family members did not comply with the code of ethics.
When invited to the game, Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen warned Reynolds: şart The Iowa Gift Law requires you to be responsible for all the costs associated with play and bowl events. ‘ it is something valuable from people who hold state jobs, but it does not apply to political donations.
The flight subordinated Reynolds’ questions about his relationship with a government employee. After becoming governor in May 2017, he traveled on an airplane operated by Gary Kirke, who was spying for a license to open a Cedar Rapids casino in the province.
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