September 3, 2014

Branstad says Iowa GOP leaders made another “mistake,” this time with traffic checkpoint advisory

Republican Governor Terry Branstad is publicly rebuking Iowa GOP officials who posted advice on the party’s website Friday for Iowans pulled over at traffic checkpoints.

“I don’t think a political party ought to be focusing on giving legal advice to people,” Branstad says. “I think that’s a mistake.”

Libertarians who’ve become active in the Iowa Republican Party now serve as the party’s chairman and in other leadership posts.  After news broke on social media Friday that central Iowa law enforcement agencies planned to pull motorists over at checkpoints this past weekend, the Iowa GOP advised law-abiding Iowans to only hand over their license, registration and proof of insurance and refuse to allow vehicle searches, plus the GOP leadership asked Iowans to make audio or video recordings of these stops and send them to party headquarters.  Branstad has had very public disputes with the current party leadership and this latest incident is no exception.

“I think political parties should spend their time supporting and helping candidates and raising money to support candidates to be successful in elections as opposed to giving out legal advice,” said during his weekly news conference.

A spokesman for the Iowa Republican Party was not immediately available for comment this morning.  The call to all “constitutional activists” in Iowa to be wary of traffic checkpoints remains on the front page of the party’s website. The Iowa Democratic Party issued a written statement Friday criticizing the Iowa GOP for coming down on the side of “not cooperating with the law.”