One of the three candidates campaigning for the Democratic Party’s U.S. Senate nomination is questioning the legal work that rival Roxanne Conlin has done. 

Candidate Tom Fiegen, who is a lawyer himself, is accusing Conlin of foreclosing on farms when she was a federal prosecutor. “As the U.S. Attorney, her and her staff put many small farmers out of business,” Fiegen said this afternoon. 

Conlin disputes that. “That’s not correct,” Conlin said a few moments alter. “That’s simply untrue.”

Fiegen, who lives in Clarence, also is attacking Conlin for being a “trial lawyer.”  Conlin, who lives in Des Moines, was the first women to elected head of the national association for trial lawyers.

“I’m arguing that I represent poor people,” Fiegen told reporters. “My hourly rate is $180 an hour.  Her hourly rate is $1,000 an hour. How many farmers do you think can afford $1,000 an hour? She claims to represent the oppressed. Her caseload is about fees.  My caseload is about saving family farmers and social work. I’m not arguing I’m the better lawyer.  I’m arguing I’m really the working class lawyer that represents small farmers and working class Iowans.” 

Conlin laughed at Fiegen’s comments. “I represent police officers and teachers and workers and people who’ve been hurt and people who’ve been the victims of discrimination or constitutional issues arise,” Conlin said when talking this afternoon with reporters.  “I think that that’s just really a ridiculous thing for him to say, but I recognize that the primary’s upon us and he may be feeling a bit desperate.” 

Recent disclosure reports show Conlin has over $870,000 in her campaign treasury.  Fiegen’s reports are not yet filed online, but in March Fiegen had roughly $600 in his campaign account.  The third candidate in the race — Bob Krause — has raised less Fiegen, but he’s urging Fiegen to stop the personal attacks on Conlin and keep the focus on defeating Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in the fall.

“When we take it to a different level, which we are doing, we damage everybody’s chances,” Krause said this afternoon.  “I feel that it’s important to keep this thing on issues because that’s what the public wants to hear about.  They don’t want to hear inside politics.” 

Krause, who lives in Des Moines, is not a lawyer, by the way. “We’ve all had mistakes.  You’ll never find mine,” Krause said, laughing. “But we’ve all made mistakes and I think it’s fair to just stay out of that and talk issues.”

The three candidates made their comments early this afternoon after taping of an Iowa Public Television program featuring the trio.  That hour-long edition of “Iowa Press” will air this evening at 7:30.