Two Iowa Republicans are questioning the motives of former G.O.P. gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, suggesting he has embarked on a campaign to politicize Iowa’s judicial system. Sioux City attorney Dan Moore served as treasurer of Vander Plaats’ campaign for governor.
“Mr. Vander Plaats needs to provide straight answers and stop purveying misinformation about Iowa’s judiciary,” Moore said this morning at a news conference in Des Moines. “Bob needs to stop conveying political rhetoric. Bob needs to acknowledge his efforts are to make the courts cede to special interests, not the constitution.”
Vander Plaats led the successful effort to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices in the 2010 judicial retention election, then he became chief executive of The Family Leader late last year, a group that has been at the center of the crusade against gay marriage in Iowa. Moore cited a recent Des Moines Register poll which found 45 percent of Iowans “disapprove” of Vander Plaats and his agenda and Moore suggested Vander Plaaats is “out of touch” with the “real issues” Iowans face.
“And I understand that the voters voted out the three justices. I get that ,” Moore said. “I think where my friend Bob has crossed the line for me is now the senseless and reckless attacks on the remaining four justices on the Iowa Supreme Court.” Three days after the November election Vander Plaats began calling for the four justices to resign.
Those four justices, along with three who were voted off the bench, signed onto the unanimous 2009 ruling which essentially legalized gay marriage in Iowa. According to Moore, Vander Plaats is using the political skills he’s gained from running for governor over the past decade to build negative public attitudes about the courts.
“We need to move on and build back up what we’ve had instead of tearing each other down and that’s what I’d like to have Bob do, not only as a friend, but as a leader,” Moore said. “I mean, I have respect for Bob because I’m smart enough to know he’s got great backing and they’re out there and I wish we could come together and say, ‘How can we resolve this so we’re still not just tearing each other down and hurting the State of Iowa.”
Former Lieutenant Governor Joy Corning, who is also a Republicans, has called upon Vander Plaats to “come clean” and release the names of donors to the effort to oust supreme court justices. Neither Vander Plaats or a spokesman for The Family Leader have responded to requests for comment.