Attorney General Tom Miller has returned a $10,000 campaign donation from a family at the heart of the massive egg recall ordered earlier this month.

Jack DeCoster had been prosecuted by Miller’s staff and was labeled an “habitual violator” of the state’s environmental laws in 2000.  Then, in 2005, DeCoster’s son, Peter, made the $10,000 campaign donation to Miller.  Brenna Findley — the Republican who’s challenging Miller this year, says something doesn’t seem right.

“Where there’s smoke there’s fire and we need to look into this,” Findley says, “to get to the bottom of it.” 

Findley says the contribution makes it appear that “justice might be for sale” in Miller’s office, part of some sort of “secret deal” for the DeCosters. 

Miller says his office “aggressively” prosecuted the DeCosters in the 1990s, but the father-son duo seemed to “have turned a corner” by 2005, as they’d gone five years without another violation of state pollution laws and were cooperating with state environmental officials.

“Had I known then what we all know now concerning the salmonella outbreak and situation, I would not have accepted that check,” Miller says. 

Miller has returned the check to Peter DeCoster, who runs DeCoster Farms of Iowa.