‘We Support All Refugees’ Rally at State Capitol on Tuesday

Protesters will rally at the Iowa State Capitol to challenge Governor Terry Branstad’s plea to deny Syrian refugees entry into the state on November 24 from 1-4pm.

The protest will be hosted by Samantha Thomas of Des Moines, who is “appalled at Branstad’s resolution to deny services to anyone in need.” Thomas is the founder and Chief Executive Officer at Global Arts Therapy, where she has worked with refugees in Nepal and former slaves in West Africa as well as refugee communities in Iowa.

“I have been active in organizing programming through Global Arts Therapy to improve the quality of life that refugees maintain in Iowa,” Thomas told Iowa Free Press.

Citing the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France, Branstad ordered “all state agencies to halt any work on Syrian refugee resettlements immediately in order to ensure the security and safety of Iowans,” according to a November 16 news release from the governor’s office.

“We must continue to have compassion for others but we must also maintain the safety of Iowans and the security of our state,” Branstad said. “Until a thorough and thoughtful review is conducted by the intelligence community and the safety of Iowans can be assured, the federal government should not resettle any Syrian refugees in Iowa.”

Branstad’s stance on immigration and human rights, after Thomas read about his position on Syrian refugees inThe Des Moines Register, made her “blood boil.” This motivated her to organize the rally with Global Art Therapy intern and Drake University student Whitney Leming-Salisbury.

“I wanted to show [Branstad] that he could not persecute all of us and that communities would rally to aid and assist those in need, no matter what,” Thomas said. “He will not prohibit people from creating kindness and improving humanity.”

Thomas said she believes Iowa is an amazing place for refugees. “Because of people like [former Iowa Governor] Robert Ray, our society has been built to create openness and we have opened our hearts to those severely affected by human rights abuses.  Iowa is a state that is willing to assist those that are most affected by tragedy, it is for some reason in our blood.”

Thomas, along with numerous organizations, is warning people not to scapegoat Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks. “Syrian people are not robots, they are just like us.” However, they are “living in a nation filled with fear and bloodshed.”

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Melissa Fleming addressed these concerns at a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday:

“We are deeply disturbed by language that demonizes refugees as a group,” Fleming said. “This is dangerous as it will contribute to xenophobia and fear… Refugees should not be turned into scapegoats and must not become the secondary victims of these most tragic events.”

“Refugees come here in search of a better life, not a free ride,” Thomas said.

The Migration Policy Institute, based in Washington D.C., has reported that the fears of US politicians about the potential threat of refugees is exaggerated.

“The United States has resettled 784,000 refugees since September 11, 2001,” MPI reports. “In those 14 years, exactly three resettled refugees have been arrested for planning terrorist activities—and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible.”

Thomas adds, “We are a state filled with opportunity, amazing education, kind people and resources to make anyone’s dreams come true.”

Rally organizers are encouraging people who attend the rally to make signs and bring friends. The Iowa State Capital Building is located at E. 9th St & E. Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319.

ISU Investigating Vandalism of George Washington Carver Statue

Last Friday, the Iowa State University Police received a report that the George Washington Carver statue outside Carver Hall had been vandalized with what appeared to be shaving cream. According to the University, the vandalism is believed to have occurred on Friday between 1 P.M. and 4 P.M.

In a statement, Iowa State University President, Steven Leath, said “While the motive is not yet known, the university takes this act of vandalism very seriously and is conducting a thorough investigation to determine if this was racially motivated. Anyone involved will be held accountable. In addition, I would like to thank the person who reported the incident to police, provided photos to aid the investigation, and cleaned off the statue. University Museums has examined the statue and will further assess its condition when the weather improves.”

George Washington Carver was born into slavery and become one of the most prominent scientists most noted for his discovery of hundreds of uses for peanuts.  Carver studied at Simpson College in Indianola and later became the first black student Iowa State University in Ames.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Iowa State University Police at 515-294-4428.

Man Arrested In Wisconsin, Charged with Elkader Attempted Murder

The Elkader, Iowa police department have announced that 25 year-old Brandon James Thoma was arrested in Madison, Wisconsin on a charge for an attempt to commit murder, a Class B felony, that occurred from a November 10th incident at an Elkader home.

The Elkader police allege that Thoma drove a car from Pella to Elkader with the intention of killing his victim. After arriving in Elkader, the police say that Thoma broke into the victim’s home after her husband had left for work and begin repeatedly striking and kicking the victim. The victim was later found by her husband and was taken by ambulance to the Central Community Hospital and later transferred to the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City.

The Clayton County Attorney’s office is working on securing Thoma’s extradition from Wisconsin.

Note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Photo Credit: “Downtown Elkader” by Kevin Schuchmann – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Downtown_Elkader.jpg#/media/File:Downtown_Elkader.jpg

Education Company Agrees To Forgive Student Loans of Iowans

The Iowa Attorney General’s office has announced that the Education Management Corporation (EDMC), a Pennsylvania for-profit education company, has agreed to forgive approximately half a million dollars in loans for more than 600 former Iowa students and over 102.8 million dollars nationwide that was held by over 80,000 former students.

According to the Iowa Attorney General’s office, EDMC operates 110 schools in 32 states and Canada which include Brown Mackie College located in Bettendorf in addition to online students that are enrolled nationwide.

The investigation started in January of 2014 after states begin receiving complaints from current and former EDMC students.

“Our investigation gave us a pretty clear picture of how EDMC lured prospective students into its programs, and how many students left the program with unfulfilled promises and oftentimes tremendous debt,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said. “We think this agreement addresses our biggest concerns about the company’s business practices and puts in place new transparency and accountability.”

As part of the agreement, EDMC does not admit to the conduct alleged by attorneys general in the 39 states and the District of Columbia.

Under the agreement, EDMC must:

  • Not make misrepresentations concerning accreditation, selectivity, graduation rates, placement rates, transferability of credit, financial aid, veterans’ benefits, and licensure requirements. EDMC shall not engage in deceptive or abusive recruiting practices and shall record online chats and telephone calls with prospective students.
  • Provide a single-page disclosure to each prospective student that includes the student’s anticipated total cost, median debt for those who complete the program, the default rate for those enrolled in the same program, warning about the unlikelihood that credits from some EDMC schools will transfer to other institutions, the median earnings for those who complete the program, and the job placement rate.
  • Require every prospective student utilizing federal student loans or financial aid to submit information to the interactive Electronic Financial Impact Platform (EFIP) in order to obtain a personalized picture of the student’s projected education program costs, estimated debt burden and expected post-graduate income.
  • Reform its job placement rate calculations and disclosures to provide more accurate information about students’ likelihood of obtaining sustainable employment in their chosen career.
  • Not enroll students in programs that do not lead to state licensure when required for employment or that, due to lack of accreditation, will not prepare graduates for jobs in their field.
  • Require incoming undergraduate students with fewer than 24 credits to complete an orientation program prior to their first class.
  • Permit incoming undergraduate students at ground campuses to withdraw within seven days of the beginning of the term or first day of class (whichever is later) without incurring any cost.
  • Permit incoming undergraduate students in online programs with fewer than 24 online credits to withdraw within 21 days of the beginning of the term without incurring any cost.
  • Require that its lead vendors, which are companies that place website or pop-up ads urging consumers to consider new educational or career opportunities, agree to certain compliance standards. Lead vendors shall be prohibited from making misrepresentations about federal financing, including describing loans as grants or “free money;” sharing student information without their consent; or implying that educational opportunities are, in fact, employment opportunities.

“When we started our work together, the attorneys general had many concerns about the ways that some higher education providers recruited students. EDMC wanted to take the lead in developing the best ways to address each one of these concerns, and we have done so,” said EDMC President and CEO Mark A. McEachen. “EDMC is proud to have worked closely with the state attorneys general to produce a new, one-page, easy-to-read disclosure that provides important information for students as they consider their higher education options at one of our schools.”

“We are also pleased to have resolved the civil claims raised by the Department of Justice and state attorneys general. Though we continue to believe the allegations in the cases were without merit, putting these matters behind us returns our focus to educating students.”

In order to receive automatic relief for the EDMC loans, students must have been enrolled in an EDMC program with fewer than 24 transfer credits; withdrew within 45 days of the first day of their first term; and their final day of attendance must have been between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2014.

EDMC also agreed to pay a $95 million settlement as part of a separate federal whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Act. In that case, the government alleged that EDMC illegally paid incentive-based compensation to its admissions recruiters tied to the number of students they recruit.

Image Credit: © vectorfusionart / Dollar Photo Club

Iowa-born Attorney to Discuss ‘Right to Know’ legislation in Waukee

Iowa native and legal expert Amanda Knief will speak about proposed legislation known as “The Patient’s Right to Know Act” at the Waukee Public Library on November 17.

Knief is the National Legal and Public Policy Director for American Atheists, a group that describes itself as being “dedicated to working for the civil rights of atheists, promoting separation of state and church, and providing information about atheism.”

The PRKA proposal, drafted by the organization, is designed to “ensure that patients are able to make completely informed medical decisions about their health by requiring health care providers to disclose to patients and prospective patients exactly which types of medical care they do not provide because of their religious beliefs.”

“This is about disclosure,” Knief said in a public statement, “not about forcing providers to do anything they have a religious objection to.”

A news release published by Atheist Voter states, “There are no state or federal laws or regulations that require health care providers to inform patients of services or treatments a provider will not provide because of the provider’s religious beliefs.”

Knief and her organization argue that health care providers can opt out of delivering medical services such as “abortions, birth control, tubal ligation, hormone replacement therapy, and nearly any other treatment that conflicts with the provider’s religious beliefs or the religious doctrine of the affiliated religious group.”

AA has compiled a list of over 700 “religiously affiliated hospitals in the United States” that fall under this category from “publicly available data.”

“If a religiously affiliated hospital or health care provider has some objection to a specific treatment, they can continue to opt out of providing those services. What they can’t do is pull a bait and switch on patients and potential patients,” according to Knief.

Knief holds a B.S. in journalism and science communication, as well as a J.D. from Drake University. While she was a student at Drake, she won the top award for her essay “Gender Bias in Asylum Law: Recognizing Persecution Against Women and Girls,” judged by the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence.

Knief previously worked for the Legislative Services Agency of the Iowa Legislature, authored the book The Citizen Lobbyist, served as a lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for America and now works. She lives in Washington D.C.

Knief will be speaking at the Waukee Public Library, located at 950 Warrior Lane in Waukee, Iowa, from 5-7pm. The event is free to the public. Organizers advise that people enter “through both sets of double doors, then turn right into the meeting room.” Attendants will also have an opportunity to meet with Knief after her talk.

Anderson Erickson Dairy and the Search for Missing Children

Before the advent of AMBER Alerts and social media, communities had to figure out constructive ways to raise awareness and locate missing children. One such effort was the campaign to place photos of missing children on the sides of milk cartons, which started with Anderson Erickson Dairy in Des Moines, Iowa.

AE Dairy began publicizing the cases of missing children on the sides of milk cartons 31 years ago, starting a national trend.

The first missing children to appear on milk cartons were 12-year-old Johnny Gosch of West Des Moines, who disappeared on September 5, 1982, and 13-year-old Eugene Martin of the south side of Des Moines, who disappeared on August 12, 1984. Both boys were newspaper carriers for the Des Moines Register when they went missing on their routes.

Noreen Gosch, Johnny’s mother, said the cultural landscape changed after the news spread.

“At the time, there was a great deal of turmoil following the kidnappings,” Gosch said. “People were afraid to let children play unattended. Many newspaper carriers quit the Register and they had to go to adult carriers.”

AE’s Director of Marketing Kim Peter said the origins of the campaign were sparked by the Gosch case and grew more urgent after Martin disappeared under similar circumstances. AE president Jim Erickson thought of an innovative way to alert the public after discussing the issue with sales personnel. In September 1984, the company issued the first milk cartons to feature Gosch and Martin.

Many experts cite AE’s effort as the first time this method was applied to publicize the cases of missing children. Since then thousands of missing children have appeared on milk cartons across the country with nearly 700 dairies out of 1,800 in the US participating in the campaign, according to the National Child Safety Council.

These campaigns yielded some success for other cases, with one out of six children profiled were recovered, according to LIFE magazine. By 1985, the NCSC reported that sightings of missing children increased 30-50 percent after the campaign was launched. However, as the campaign went on, the effort was not as successful as originally anticipated.

Tragedy struck Des Moines once again on March 29, 1986 when 13-year-old Marc Allen was reported missing after he told his mother he was walking to a friend’s house and never showed up. Since then, other children in Des Moines and throughout the state have gone missing. The cases of Gosch, Martin and Allen have never been solved. They are still classified as missing persons by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“This campaign was effective because dairies across the nation joined in and helped raise public awareness of the issue,” Peter said.

This program, however, was also met with criticism. Dr. Benjamin Spock, a noted children’s psychologist and former presidential candidate, viewed the campaign in a negative light, claiming that it caused unnecessary anxiety for children to see such images when they were having breakfast.

Despite the criticism, the campaign had its supporters, including Noreen Gosch.

“I felt it helped with awareness and gave an opening/reminder each time the milk carton was brought out of the refrigerator,” Gosch said. “There were some people who criticized it and said it was scaring children but I feel it is all in how parents talk to their children about issues. I would much rather have a child be a little apprehensive than kidnapped and gone.”

The milk carton campaigns eventually stopped by the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“I felt it was a good program,” Gosch said, “and I was thankful to Anderson Erickson for doing it.”

Iowa Peace Activists Gather for Armistice Day Observance

Iowa peace activists commemorated Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, in Iowa City on November 11.

According to a public statement issued by the national contingent of Veterans for Peace, “We are reclaiming the original intention of that day – a worldwide call for peace that was spurred by universal revulsion at the huge slaughter of World War One.  In Canada and the United Kingdom, this day is known as Remembrance Day.”

Attendants rallied in front of the Pentacrest, located on the eastern side of the Old Capitol building at the intersection of Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue. Joining other VFP chapters and peace activists throughout the country, participants rang bells 11 times, including the bell at the Old Capitol, as was done at the end of World War One.

VFP members who served from World War Two through the war in Afghanistan (America’s Longest War) spoke to the assembly. The ceremony closed with American folk singer Ed McCurdy’s 1950 anti-war song “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream.” After the observance, participants were invited to lunch at the Iowa City Public Library.

The Armistice Day observance was sponsored by Iowa City-based activist groups Veterans for Peace Chapter #161 and Peace Education and Action Center of Eastern Iowa (PEACE Iowa).

As reported by Iowa Free Press in August, “Veterans for Peace is a non-profit organization formed in 1985 that describes itself as ‘a global organization of military veterans and allies whose collective efforts are to build a culture of peace.’ The three VFP chapters are located in Des Moines, Iowa City and Linn County.”

PEACE Iowa describes itself as “a coalition of eastern Iowa political, religious, community, professional, and student organizations” dedicated to the cause of peace.

Armistice Day, now Veterans Day, marked the end of World War One, cited by many historians as “the war to end all wars,” which ended on November 11, 1918 after Germany surrendered. Since then, the United States and its allies have engaged in numerous wars and military conflicts.

The United States declared war against Germany in April 1917. According to sources, 114,242 Iowans served in the armed forces. 3,576 Iowans never returned home. In total, estimates show that nearly 117,000 Americans died in what was called “The Great War,” where military deaths amounted to over 8,500,000 for all nations involved.

The US Congress passed a resolution on June 4, 1926 declaring November 11 “…a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.'”  It was later changed to “Veterans’ Day” with Public Law 380 on June 1, 1954, “to honor American veterans of all wars,” according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

“…after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word ‘Armistice’ and inserting in its place the word ‘Veterans.'”

VFP member Ed Flaherty informed Iowa Free Press some members feel that “the substitution of the word ‘Armistice’ to ‘Veterans’ changes the focus from peace to war by celebrating and honoring the rhetoric and symbolism of war.”

Promotional materials for the event echoed this sentiment. One flyer refers to the occasion as “a day to promote peace and to remember the victims of war, both veterans and civilians.”

Iowa Civil Forfeiture Laws Among Worst in the US

Iowa has some of the “worst civil forfeiture laws in the country,” according to a new study released by the Institute for Justice on November 10.

IJ released an updated version of their “Policing for Profit” report, a state-by-state examination of civil forfeiture laws across the United States. The study, which is subtitled “The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture,” ranks Iowa with a “D-” rating in terms of its civil forfeiture laws, which are described in the report as “terrible” and “Draconian.”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “Civil forfeiture allows police to seize — and then keep or sell — any property they allege is involved in a crime. Owners need not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for their cash, cars, or even real estate to be taken away permanently by the government.”

“Not only does Iowa have some of the worst civil forfeiture laws in the country,” the IJ study concludes, “but state and local law enforcement agencies face virtually no public accountability for their forfeiture actions.”

“State law contains no provision for maintaining records of assets forfeited or for making reports of forfeitures to a centralized agency. However, state law does require that 10 percent of all forfeiture proceeds be directed to the Iowa County Attorneys Association. The Institute for Justice filed an Iowa Open Records Law request and was able to use records of proceeds received by the ICAA to estimate the value of forfeited assets.”

After this request was answered, IJ found records indicating that “Iowa law enforcement agencies forfeited an average of more than $3 million per calendar year between 2009 and 2013, or almost $16 million in total.”

The IJ, founded in 1991, is a libertarian public interest law firm that describes itself as “the National Law Firm for Liberty.” The study was authored by IJ members Dick Carpenter, Lisa Knepper, Angela Erickson and Jennifer McDonald, with contributions from Wesley Hottot and Keith Diggs.

Carpenter, IJ Director of Strategic Research, says that research shows that financial incentives “baked into civil forfeiture laws” influence the behavior of law enforcement.

“When laws make taking property relatively easy and lucrative for law enforcement,” Carpenter writes in a public statement issued on November 10, “it should be no surprise to see agencies take advantage.”

The “End Civil Forfeiture” initiative by IJ reports that “Eighty percent of people from whom the federal government seized property for forfeiture were never even charged with a crime.”

Data obtained by IJ indicates that civil forfeiture “is easier for law enforcement because it does not require a conviction, while criminal forfeiture does.” The IJ further states that the “Department of Justice took advantage of easier civil procedures in 87 percent of forfeiture cases from 1997 to 2013.”

IJ Director of Activism and Coalitions Christina Walsh reports that “forfeiture revenue has exploded” nationwide.

“Since 2001, annual federal forfeiture revenue has increased from less than $500 million to more than $5 billion in 2014—a tenfold increase in just 14 years. And available data show forfeiture revenue across 14 states more than doubling from 2002 to 2013.”

In a statement issued to Iowa Free Press by American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa Legislative Director Dane Schumann, the organization agreed with many of the IJ findings:

“Iowa’s civil asset forfeiture laws are some of the worst in the country. Police need to only have ‘probable cause’ to believe a person’s property—like cash, vehicles or other personal effects—are the proceeds or instrumentality of a crime in order to take that property under civil forfeiture.  And the person doesn’t even need to be charged with a crime. Getting the property returned is such a lengthy, costly and difficult process that many people just give up.”

Schumann says the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws “do not respect due process rights” and “they must be reformed.”

“The ACLU of Iowa will urge lawmakers to abolish civil asset forfeiture to provide defendants’ property the same due process rights that they have in the criminal justice system.  Lawmakers should eliminate the profit motive for law enforcement and county attorneys to engage in civil forfeiture proceedings by devoting forfeiture proceeds to the state’s general fund and establish clear reporting requirements to improve the process’s transparency.”

In the study’s Executive Summary, the authors propose the following:

“The best solution would be to simply abolish civil forfeiture. Short of that, lawmakers should eliminate financial incentives to take property, bolster property rights and due process protections, and demand transparency for forfeiture activity and spending. No one should lose property without being convicted of a crime, and law enforcement agencies should not profit from taking people’s property.”

© eyegelb / Dollar Photo Club

Iowa fails in judicial accountability, according to study

Iowa received a “D+” grade in a 2015 nationwide assessment of “state government transparency and accountability” conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity.

Both non-profit organizations collaborated on the “State Integrity Investigation,” a study based on “research by reporters in each state to grade and rank the states based on existing laws and analysis of how well they are implemented.”

Each state is ranked by letter grades in 13 categories. In the category of “Judicial Accountability,” Iowa scored an “F” alongside 33 other states, a rating partially attributed to the state’s attempt to “hide police videos” and “the absence of any state government effort to evaluate the performance of judges.”

The study cites the case of 34-year-old Autumn Steele, an unarmed woman who was shot and killed by Police Officer Jesse Hill in Burlington, Iowa on January 6, 2015. As reported by Iowa Free Press:

“Hill responded to a domestic disturbance call involving a dispute between Autumn Steele and her husband Gabriel at their South Garfield Avenue home on the morning of January 6.

“During Hill’s investigation, the Steele family dog, a German Shepard named Sammy, jumped on the officer and allegedly bit him. He initially drew his firearm to shoot the dog, but his weapon discharged and fired two shots as he slipped and fell to the ground. One bullet entered Steele’s chest, which was the fatal shot according to the autopsy report.

“The Des Moines Register reports that ‘[Steele] was also struck in her right arm, and a bullet grazed the dog.'”

After Steele was killed, family members sought official records from local and state agencies regarding the shooting. Their efforts were stonewalled by authorities for months.

Gina Colbert, Steele’s mother, described her treatment by the Burlington Police Department, the state Division of Criminal Investigation and Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers as “cruel and disrespectful.”

“[Assistant] Iowa Attorney [General] Jeff Peterzalek claimed concern for [Autumn’s] family in his reason to not release evidence,” Colbert writes in a July statement to Iowa Free Press, “it is not our family he is concerned for.”

Steele’s family, along with The Hawk Eye and The Des Moines Register newspapers, requested access to police video footage, police reports and 911 phone transcripts. Access to this information was denied until the Iowa Public Information Board voted to “take up” their complaint on September 17.

Lauren Mills of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism writes, “The board promised to seek an informal resolution or, failing that, to launch an investigation that could compel the agencies to release the records.”

Taking into account Iowa’s ranking in all 13 categories, the state is “tied for 10th out of 50 states” in terms of transparency and accountability, a drop from its 7th place ranking and its C+ grade when a 2011-2012 version of the study was conducted.

Other categories featured in the study include: public access to information, political financing, electoral oversight, executive accountability, legislative accountability, state budget processes, state civil service management, procurement, internal auditing, lobbying disclosure, ethics enforcement agencies and state pension fund management.

Photo Credit: Unnamed User via Wikimedia Commons

‘Stand up to Super PACS’ rally at Iowa State Capitol

The non-profit group Iowa Pays the Price is hosting a rally at the Iowa State Capitol to combat the influence of “Big Money” in politics on Sunday, according to event organizers.

The rally, hosted by filmmaker Scott “The Iowa Nice Guy” Siepker as the emcee, will feature speakers representing independent voters as well as Democrats and Republicans. The goal is to engage voters to “Stand Up to Super PACs” and call for campaign finance reform. There will also be musical performances from the Uniphonics, a band that specializes in funk, jazz and soul.

Iowa Pays the Price Campaign Director Ruth Lapointe described the organization to Iowa Free Press as a non-partisan group “devoted to reducing the influence of Big Money in politics and highlighting how large sums of money in politics negatively affects all Americans.”

According to Lapointe, the group was founded in June of this year and was inspired by “the massive amount of spending seen in Iowa during the 2014 election cycle” as a result of the Citizens United ruling by the United States Supreme Court in 2010.

Lapointe cites a recent Des Moines Register poll showing that over 90% of both parties are “mad as hell” over the issue of money in politics, emphasizing this as an issue that crosses political party lines.

“We would like the future president, regardless of their party affiliation, to commit to stopping the influx of undisclosed, unaccountable money in politics,” Lapointe writes in a statement issued to Iowa Free Press. “To achieve this goal, we are aiming to get all 2016 Presidential candidates on record giving us their plan to solve this problem.”

Since June, the group has received support from non-partisan organizations and thousands of signatures for their petition to bring “bring transparency, accountability and participation back to Iowa politics.”

For more information, visit: http://iowapaystheprice.org/


Program Schedule for November 8:

12:00-1:00-Uniphonics Perform

1:00-1:05-Scott Siepker introduces speakers as Emcee

1:06-1:11-Republican Speaker

1:12-1:17-Democratic Speaker

1:18-1:23-No Party Speaker

1:24-1:30-Scott Siepker gives closing remarks

1:30-2:30- Uniphonics Perform