Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is defending a free trip the state’s education director took to a conference in Brazil. 

A foundation that’s linked to a corporation that does millions of dollars worth of business with the State of Iowa paid for the travel.

“I think you need to take into account that this was a trip that was provided by the Council of Chief State School Officers, so it’s not really a gift, but it’s no different than the governor or Iowa attending the (National Governors Association) or the Lieutenant Governors Association,” Reynolds says. “It’s an opportunity for continuing education.”

Glass told The Cedar Rapids Gazette that when presented with this kind of an opportunity, he will always make the choice to visit a “high-performing country” like Brazil to talk about how to improve Iowa’s education system. The state’s gift law forbids legislators and other state officials from accepting gifts that are worth more than three dollars. Reynolds argues this is different.

“I think also the Department of Ethics is reviewing this case, but I think director Glass did everything appropriately and if they decide anything different needs to be done then we’ll address that moving forward,” Reynolds told reporters this morning.  (Audio of news conference here, with questions about Brazil trip starting at 8:30 mark.)

Governor Branstad is out of the country, on a trade mission to the far east.