State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, and Republican Governor Kim Reynolds are sparring over a government-funded ad that ran on radio, TV and the internet last November.
It urged Iowans to wear a mask and take other steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“Let’s step up and stop the spread together,” Reynolds said at the conclusion of 60-second message.
The auditor says the governor violated a state law she approved in 2018 that forbids governors from using public money on broadcast, newspaper and internet ads that include her name, likeness or voice. The governor says under state law, she had the authority to use emergency powers during a public health emergency to address Iowans at the height of the pandemic. Reynolds recruited others, like former Governor Tom Vilsack and former Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable, to appear in the ad with her.
“Covid-19 isn’t stronger than Iowans resolve to overcome it,” Reynolds said in the ad.
The governor’s chief of staff says Iowa law clearly gives Iowa governors the authority to address Iowans in a public service announcement during a disaster emergency. Sand says Reynolds never suspended the law in any of her public health emergency declarations and is trying to distract from her use of taxpayer dollars for self-promotion.