Ethics panel dismisses conflict of interest complaint

The Iowa House Ethics Committee late this morning dismissed a conflcit of interest complaint filed against Rep. Dolores Mertz (D-Ottosen).  The complaint was filed by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a group that contends Mertz shouldn't be chair of the House Ag Committee because her sons run a hog confinement and pay her rent to spread manure on her farm.  The dismissal was a unanimous decision from the five Ethics Committee members present for the meeting (Rep. Eric Palmer was absent).  The committee's dismissal was done "with prejudice" which means ICCI cannot submit another complaint on the same grounds.

Early this afternoon, Mertz issued a prepared statement.


"I'm pleased the Ethics Committee has dismissed the complaint.  As a farmer and legislator, I've been involved in Iowa agriculture for many years and my priorities have remained the same — strengthening rural Iowa and expanding markets for our farmers. I look forward to continuing my work as Chair of the House Agriculture Committee and building on our efforts to make Iowa a world leader in renewable energy."

I spoke with Mertz about an hour ago and she expressed the same sentiments.  In an interview with other reporters, however, Mertz said ICCI had threatened her repeatedly in the past few years. ICCI's executive director denied the charge.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.