Ethics board clears Rastetter

Dan Mackenzie

(Updated 9:38 a.m. Friday Aug. 24)

Bruce Rastetter’s legal counsel, Paula Dierenfeld, in response to the ethics board’s ruling said in a statement released Thursday, “We are pleased that the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board voted to dismiss the complaint…We’ve always believed the allegations by the Iowa CCI lacked merit.” 

In the same statement Rastetter said “I strive to manage my business interests with the highest degree of integrity…With this matter now behind me, I can focus my efforts on advocating on behalf of Iowa’s outstanding universities and, most importantly, Iowa’s students.”

The Iowa Ethics Board on Thursday, August 23, dismissed the conflict of interest complaint which had been filed against Bruce Rastetter, President Pro Tem of the Iowa Board of Regents. The Iowa Ethics Board stated that Rastetter’s original financial disclosure was lacking, but they were satisfied with the amended form submitted on Monday, August 20. The board also admonished the group who filed the complaint, saying that they had cited the incorrect section of Iowa Code.

The group that filed the original complaint, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI), said they plan to continue their campaign against Rastetter. In a statement released after the Iowa Ethics Board hearing on Thursday, Iowa CCI said they will continue to fulfill their watchdog role and hold public figures like Rastetter accountable to the public they serve.

Iowa CCI also says that the admonishment from the board regarding what part of the code was cited in the complaint was unfounded. Ross Grooters, Iowa CCI member, said the group had previously submitted an incorrect complaint, but as of Tuesday, August 16, they had amended the complaint with the correct code.

Grooters also said that they believe the Iowa Ethics Board has taken a much narrower interpretation then they had envisioned. Iowa CCI filed the complaint under the section of Iowa code pertaining to the use of public property and had interpreted Iowa State as a public institution which therefore constitutes it as common public property. The Iowa Ethics Board did not share that interpretation.

“They found an interpretation that suited their needs” Grooters said.

However Grooters said he knows the citizens of Iowa are behind them.

“There are two camps of Iowans right now, those who haven’t heard about the issue, and those who are upset,” Grooters said.