According to KCCI-TV’s website, it is currently 93 degrees in Des Moines, Iowa, but the “heat index” or “feels like” temperature is 111 degrees. I am quite content inside my air conditioned, windowless Radio Iowa office as I type this at 2 p.m.
A variety of political stories has cropped up over the past few days.
- Tea Party tempest: a billboard goes up in Mason City; then it gets papered over. Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo, Iowa) is scheduled to be on The Ed Show on MSNBC this afternoon to talk about it.
- Financial reform bill: Grassley said Tuesday he doesn’t know how he’ll vote, then today Grassley announced he’ll vote no on financial reform.
Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley
I’ll vote against the conference report because of concerns about changes made to the Senate bill, which I supported.
First, there’s new spending with a new offset that’s a huge problem. The new offset uses TARP dollars. TARP dollars should be returned to the taxpayers and used for deficit reduction, as was promised from the start. I voted for the Senate version of the banking bill to protect taxpayers from another government bailout of Wall Street, not to put taxpayers on the hook by spending more money through TARP.
The new offset also uses FDIC fees for a budget gimmick by crediting those fees to the FDIC and using them as an offset.
The conference report also waters down important reforms that were in the Senate bill.
I wanted to make the derivatives market transparent. The conference report weakened the Senate derivatives title, which required that banks receiving federal assistance push out all derivatives trading to separate affiliate operations. Instead, the conference report allows certain types of derivatives trading by the bank which puts them in a more risky position.
I also wanted to target conflicts of interest with credit rating agencies. The Senate bill contained an amendment that I cosponsored to break up the conflict of interest where security issuers get to pick the credit rating agencies. A lack of independent assessment in this area was a major factor in what led up to the meltdown in 2008. The conference report guts this reform by replacing it with a mere study.
I also wanted to make the Fed open to scrutiny and accountability. The Senate bill took a step in that direction, albeit way too small of a step. A lot more should have been done in this area. For instance, the House version included a full audit of the Fed, and members of the conference could have taken that stronger language.
It’s a bill that most of Wall Street wants passed. And that’s the last thing Iowans expect in any real reform bill.
Conlin: Grassley shows his true colors by voting NO on Wall Street reform
(Des Moines) – (Des Moines) – Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin is disappointed in Senator Grassley’s intention to vote NO on meaningful Wall Street reform. Below is a statement from Roxanne Conlin regarding the vote:
“Senator Grassley repeatedly voted against this measure at the end of April so it comes as no surprise that he refuses to stand up for the working Iowans and continues to support Wall Street, who has filled his campaign coffers with millions of dollars. Iowans who lost jobs, retirement savings, and were victims of unscrupulous lenders are left to wonder why someone they trusted to look out for them has turned his back on them. People in all 99 counties tell me their stories of hardship.
“This bill will bring shadowy derivatives trading — the off-the-books and out-of-sight gambling that drove our economy off a cliff — out into the light. It protects consumers from predatory lending practices with a new consumer protection bureau. And it puts into effect a whole host of other common-sense reforms that will help make sure Wall Street plays by the same rules we have to obey on Main Street. Iowans want and need meaningful reform to keep us safe. We are all disappointed Senator Grassley took the side of Wall Street.”
- Debate about debates: Roxanne Conlin, the Democrat who is challenging Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in November, issued a statement, then Grassley responded.
Conlin Calls for Debates
(DES MOINES, IOWA) – United States Senate Candidate Roxanne Conlin challenged Senator Chuck Grassley to a series of 12 televised debates across Iowa from now through election day. “I want the people of Iowa to decide for themselves who will best serve their interest in Washington,” Conlin said. “This election should not be about sound bites or 30 second spots.”
In calling for the debates, Conlin also insisted that they be real debates in the Lincoln-Douglas style lasting 90 minutes. “These debates should focus on issues that affect the lives of Iowans such as the economy, job creation, improving health care in the United States, education, environment, agriculture, among other topics,” Conlin indicated. “Just Senator Grassley and I talking about the issues so Iowans can truly understand where we stand.” The debates should occur before a live audience and include audience questions, according to Conlin. By suggesting debates all over the state and including audience questions, Conlin wants to be sure that regional concerns are also addressed
Conlin suggested that the debates be held in both urban and rural settings such as Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Council Bluffs, Dubuque, Fort Madison, Ottumwa, Fort Dodge, Mason City, and Iowa City.
Mark Daley, Conlin campaign manager, will be contacting the Grassley campaign to finalize dates and locations and media availability at those locations.
GRASSLEY CAMPAIGN STATEMENT ON DEBATES
DES MOINES – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s re-election campaign released the following statement concerning potential debates with challenger Roxanne Conlin:
“The Conlin campaign’s suggestion for 12 debates must have been predicated on the misunderstanding that the debates would qualify her for more multimillion dollar federal tax credits. Senator Grassley looks forward to debating as he has every one of his past opponents. He has already accepted one invitation and will be considering additional debate requests.
”Senator Grassley is also committed to maintaining his work schedule in the U.S. Senate where has a 100-percent voting record, 11,000 straight votes, and has been named by his colleagues the hardest-working member of Congress.”
- Oh, Canada..with glowing hearts we see thee rise: Politico posted a story about Conlin going to a trial lawyers’ fundraiser in Canada.
- A “most influential American” and a Lawyer who’s not a lawyer. An announcement this week involving the work of former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell who was listed in 1997 by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential Americans. Campbell is a lawyer, by the way. Mary Lawyer, another principle in the new firm, is not. Read the news release below:
Link Strategies Announces Expansion, Will Open Government Relations and Public Affairs Firm August 1
Former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell and Iowa Department of Economic Development Director Mary Lawyer joining new firm.
(Des Moines, Iowa) – Link Strategies, an Iowa-based political consulting firm announced the creation of an additional firm specializing in government relations, reputation management and public relations.
Bonnie Campbell, who served as Iowa Attorney General from 1990-1994, will join the group as Partner. Jeff Link, Matt Paul and Brad Anderson will also be shareholders in the new firm. Mary Lawyer will serve as Managing Director and will lead the firm’s business development and state government relations operation.
Link, Paul, Campbell and Anderson Public Strategies will occupy office space adjoining existing Link Strategies space in the historic Northwestern Hotel Building at 321 East Walnut. Link Strategies will continue to provide clients with political consulting such as general campaign consulting, referendum and issue campaign management and political research.
“The new structure will provide our clients with a unique and value-added level of services in the public arena,” said Jeff Link. “Our partnership will focus on collective expertise in public policy, media and legal affairs.” Link will serve as Managing Partner of both companies, maintaining his practice in national and international political strategy.
Brad Anderson has been a partner at Link Strategies since May 2008. He got his start in politics working on former Sen. John Edwards’ successful 1998 campaign for U.S. Senate. He later became Sen. Tom Harkin’s research director in 2002 and went on to serve as communications director for Governor Chet Culver during his 2006 campaign. He stayed on as Gov. Culver’s communications director in his official office until leaving in 2008 to serve as Barack Obama’s Iowa Communications Director for the general election. Brad has helped develop communications strategies for corporate clients ranging from Verizon to NextEra Energy
Bonnie Campbell joins the firm as Partner and will provide counsel regarding legal, regulatory and reputation management issues. Campbell was the first woman to serve as Attorney General in Iowa. President Bill Clinton later appointed her the first Director of the Office on Violence Against Women in the US Department of Justice. She is a member of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.
Mary Lawyer is a well-respected business and government leader in Iowa. She served in various management roles in state government, ultimately serving as Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development. She also served as President of the Downtown Community Alliance in Des Moines and most recently served as Director of Business Development at Conlon Companies. In her new role, Mary will lead the firm’s state government relations practice and provide clients regulatory and business development counsel.
Jeff Link is an Iowa native and graduate of Drake Law School.
His work in campaigns has dovetailed with his experience in government. After successfully managing Senator Tom Harkin’s 1996 and 2002 re-election campaign, Link also served in Washington, D.C. as Harkin’s Chief of Staff. Jeff also oversaw the successful campaigns of Vice President Al Gore’s Iowa caucus and the election of Congressman Bruce Braley. In 2008, Link served as a media consultant to the Obama Presidential Campaign, coordinating branding, all paid media and polling in 25 states, including seven battleground states. His work now focuses on international political clients and public affairs consulting with leading companies such as Microsoft and The Princeton Review.
Matt Paul began his career as a reporter in Cedar Rapids. In 1994, he joined the staff of Mayor Larry Serbousek, serving as the city’s primary spokesperson. He was asked to continue in that role after the election of Mayor Lee R. Clancey. In 1998, he joined the Administration of Governor Tom Vilsack serving in several key positions including Press Secretary, Communications Director and Senior Advisor. In 2007, he joined Link Strategies. Paul managed the successful re-election campaign of Senator Tom Harkin in 2008 and has provided strategic communications and public affairs counsel to clients including IBM, Alliant Energy, Abraxis BioScience and other industry leaders in healthcare, energy and finance. Paul will focus on public affairs at the federal level at LPCA Public Strategies.