The Ethics Committee in the Iowa House Wednesday voted unanimously to reprimand Drew Klein with the Koch Brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity for failing to register as a lobbyist on controversial legislation earlier this session.
The bill dramatically scaled back collective bargaining rights for Iowa public employees.
Iowa Federation of Labor president Ken Sagar filed the complaint alleging Klein lobbied aggressively for the collective bargaining bill without registering his support for the bill as required by House ethics rules.
Klein argued he believed he had registered to lobby.
The committee concluded the complaint was valid, but there was no malice in Klein’s actions.
The panel will draft a letter of admonishment, warning Klein about a repeat occurrence.
“Any lobbyist should take heed on what has happened and what has occurred so it doesn't happen to anyone again,” said Committee Chairman Rep. Rob Taylor (R-West Des Moines.)
Taylor cites the reason for the ethics rules governing lobbyists.
“So that the public knows who it is that is giving us information and advice either for or against a certain subject matter,” Taylor said.
The panel could have banned Klein from lobbying in the future.
Klein issued a statement following the committee action.
“I am disappointed that the ethics committee failed to adequately consider the evidence that was presented to them,” Klein said. “I look forward to moving past this to continue advocating for issues that will benefit our state.”
Taylor’s role in the matter was questioned because he had sponsored an Americans for Prosperity event. However, Klein said the top Democratic on the committee, Rep. Phyllis Thede (D-Bettendorf), advised him he should not have to recuse himself.
“When we consider this we put those blinders on,” Thede said.