Group says it likely broke Iowa law after ethics complaint filed in Cedar Rapids Mayoral race

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 4:51 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The group at the center of an ethics complaint in the Cedar Rapids Mayoral race admits it likely broke Iowa law after a Tiffany O’Donnell supporter filed a complaint this weekend against a political action committee called Iowa Voter Info.

Iowa Voter Info, which is a Political Action Committee, was created with help from leaders in the Linn County Democrats. Those members include the Linn County Democrats Chair Bret Niles and Treasurer Susan Elliott-Bryan. Niles said the group coordinated with Amara Andrews’ campaign, specifically Sami Scheetz and Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker, to mail flyers connecting Tiffany O’Donnell to donations made to Republican politicians around October 17.

Those flyers were paid for with money the group received from the Andrews campaign on October 2, according to Niles. Niles said the mailers, which only had Iowa Voter Info’s name on the flyer, should have come directly from the Andrews campaign.

“We didn’t do a good job on how this would appear to the public,” he said. “This should of come from Amara Andrews Campaign directly.

An ethics complaint, which was filed by an O’Donnell supporter over the weekend, argues the PAC was used to hide the source of the mailings. The complaint also argues the PAC acted illegally by actively campaigning weeks before registering.

Niles said his group was talking with the state ethics board in the summer but admits his group missed filing deadlines. The timeline given also contradicts a statement from the Andrews campaign on Saturday, calling the complaint that Iowa Voter Info was not a registered PAC “categorically false”.

Amara Andrews’ campaign said a new statement her campaign will fix any mistakes made, which was a recorded video statement sent to TV9.

“I value my integrity above all else,” she said “If we made any mistakes we will fix them.”

She also called the complaint a distraction before Tuesday’s election. The Iowa Ethics Board could review the complaint at its next meeting on November 18th. Then, the board will decide to dismiss, administratively resolve or further investigate.

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