There’s a statehouse spat between a U.S. Senate candidate and the son of the Iowa Republican Party’s chairman. The argument is over progress on a bill that would set up new state oversight of private boarding schools.
Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids says the leader of the Government Oversight Committee in the House is delaying action on the bill.
“The legislature has a process that is supposed to work. It’s not supposed to be media circuses,” Hogg said Wednesday during remarks on the state senate floor. “And I have worked really hard as the chair of the Government Oversight Committee to not involve myself in every little issue to try to promote myself through the news media.”
Hogg is a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate this year. Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton is the target of Hogg’s commentary. He’s the son of Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann and he’s firing back.
“Senator Hogg can continue his quest to run against Chuck Grassley. I’m going to continue my quest to do good work in oversight,” Kaufmann told reporters. “It is sad to see a senator resort to politics when we’re trying to protect kids here.”
Kaufmann is making an appeal to students at the now-closed Midwest Academy boarding school in southeast Iowa, asking them to come forward and publicly testify before his committee about the alleged abuses there. Senator Hogg said it’s time for Kaufmann to work on a policy to keep future abuse from happening.
“Not for some ‘dog and pony show’ in front of a committee, but for actually passing the legislation that we need to make sure that somebody has eyes on these boarding schools,” Hogg said.
The Senate has twice passed a bill to require private boarding schools to get a state certificate to operate. Kaufmann’s committee in the House has just begun working on similar legislation.
“I’ll ignore his little joust and will commit to continue to work with him irregardless of his petty politics — and please report ‘petty politics’ — and I will make sure that we get the best bill put forth possible,” Kaufmann said.
Kaufmann told reporters he wants to make sure the bill doesn’t accidentally require more state oversight of private religious schools.