A legislative committee has unanimously voted to drop a complaint against a state senator accused of violating senate ethics rules.
A member of the Democratic National Committee who lives in Story City filed a complaint against Republican Senator Stewart Iverson of Clarion for working for New York Governor George Pataki and accepting pay from Pataki’s political action committee. Senate Ethics rules forbid legislators from working for a PAC and Senate Co-President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg who is co-chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, says Iverson should have known that. “I don’t want to pick on Senator Iverson here but he’s been leader around here a long time and should have been well-aware of these rules,” Kibbie says. Iverson is the former Republican leader in the senate who lost a leadership vote this spring and announced this June he would not seek re-election.
But Kibbie says the ethics complaint against Iverson’s been dismissed because of Iverson’s quick reaction. “He more or less apologized, paid back the money and quit his job,” Kibbie says. “I don’t know what more he could have done.” Iverson wasn’t the only senator who violated the rule.
Senator Chuck Larson, Junior — a Republican from Cedar Rapids — was hired by Arizona Senator John McCain and paid by McCain’s PAC. Larson says he assumed the ethics rule only applied to state political action committees trying to influence the Iowa Legislature, not PACs formed by potential presidential candidates. But Senator Kibbie, the Democrat who’s co-chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, disagrees. “I think a PAC’s a PAC and that’s what the rule says and I don’t think we ought to be making excuses or apologies,” Kibbie says.
Both Larson and Iverson have returned the money they were paid from the potential presidential candidates’ PACs. “When people change employment while they’re serving in the senate there are some do’s and don’ts,” Kibbie says.
Both Iverson and Larson are retiring from the legislature and will be able to accept pay from the PACs once they leave office in January.