A roundup of state government and Iowa Capitol news items of interest from Tuesday, June 11:
• KARGER COMPLAINTS: California political activist Fred Karger said Tuesday he plans to file a complaint with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board against the Washington-based National Organization for Marriage.
Karger, 63, a political consultant and gay rights advocate who unsuccessfully sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, said the complaint be plans to file Wednesday against NOM alleges the organization did not disclose its donors and all of its all non-monetary contributions when it funded and managed opposition to Iowa Supreme Court justices in Iowa’s judicial retention elections in 2010 and 2012.
Karger previously brought ethics complaints against the National Organization for Marriage in Maine and California. In a news release, Karger said he also plans to file a separate complaint on Thursday with the Federal Election Commission against former 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, the National Organization for Marriage, and Bob Vander Plaats, chief executive officer of the Iowa-based Family Leader organization.
Karger said his FEC complaint will request an investigation into what he called the “pay for play” question surrounding Vander Plaats’ endorsement of Santorum’s presidential bid before the former Pennsylvania senator narrowly won the 2012 first-in-the-nation Iowa precinct caucuses.
• WHITAKER SENATE TEAM: GOP senatorial candidate Matt Whitaker of Des Moines has announced key members of his campaign staff in his bid to land his party’s 2014 U.S. Senate nomination.
Whitaker said Marshalltown native Terry Nelson of FP1 Strategies will serve as his media consultant, Jeff Roe of Axiom Strategies will serve as his general consultant, Chris Wilson of Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research will be the campaign’s pollster, Zack Condry of The Prosper Group will be his digital strategist, Craig Schoenfeld will serve as a strategic consultant, and Jennifer Rossman will serve as a senior advisor for the campaign.
“This is a quality team with Iowa experience and national experience,” said Whitaker. “The one thing they all have in common is a history of success. I’m excited to have top-notch professionals working for me as we run a campaign focused on getting our country back on track.”
Whitaker is seeking the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Tom Harkin, who has decided not to seek re-election next year.
• DROWNING PREVENTION: State public health officials are reminding Iowans that next week marks drowning prevention week in Iowa.
The designation by Gov. Terry Branstad is intended to increase awareness, education, and utilization of proven drowning prevention strategies. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 10 people die each day from unintentional drowning.
Additionally, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury for children between the ages of one and five years. “These deaths, especially child deaths, are preventable,” said John Kelly, an Iowa Department of Public Health environmental engineer.
He said prevention strategies include always having an adult parent or caregiver within arm’s reach of their child whenever they are in or around water and always designating a responsible adult who can swim and knows CPR to watch other swimmers in or around the water, even if they are at a life-guard attended facility.
Also, formal swimming lessons have been shown to reduce the risk of drowning in children between the ages of one and four years, and provide essential skills to swimmers of all ages, he added.
Also, health officials advise to avoid alcohol use while swimming or supervising children. Alcohol use is a contributing factor in an estimated 30 percent to 70 percent of adolescent and adult drowning incidents.