The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board has dismissed two complaints about how Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has taken free flights on private jets, with the cost of those nine flights covered by individuals and reported as donations to Reynolds’ campaign.
Board chairman James Albert emphasized that former Democratic Governors Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver took six flights on private jets, paid for with “in-kind” campaign contributions by a donor.
“Obviously this is very important,” he said during today’s board meeting. “The people of Iowa, they are relying on us to get the law right and to check politics at the door…This board is absolutely non-political.”
Gary Dickey, the Des Moines attorney who filed one of the complaints, accused the board of ignoring the true value of the
flight Reynolds took to see the Cyclone football team play last December.
“The fair market value would be how much it cost per seat for an individual to fly charter on a Gulfstream G200 from Des Moines to Memphis, Tennessee,” Dickey said reporters moments after the board’s decision, “and I’ve got to tell you if it’s $1400 per seat, there’s going to be a lot of Iowa State that would want get on that jet to go to the Liberty Bowl with the governor.”
The board indicated it hasn’t made its own calculations about the fair market value of plane rides. The board’s legal counsel suggested corporations and individuals would face tax consequences for under-valuing the costs of flights that wind up being claimed as campaign donations.