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Monona County Attorney Says Owner Of Truck With Campaign Flags Agreed To Move It; No Charges Filed

A military-style truck with campaign flags is parked outside the Monona County Courthouse.
Courtesy Abby Riesberg
A military-style truck with campaign flags is parked outside the Monona County Courthouse on Wednesday.

Updated Thursday, Oct. 22, at 4:50 p.m.

The Monona County attorney said Thursday afternoon that the man who parked a military-style vehicle decorated with campaign flags outside a voting site has agreed to move it, and he is not expecting to file criminal charges at this time.

The truck was parked right outside the courthouse during two days of early voting with a large “Trump 2020” sign and Trump flags. The county auditor said it was within the 300-foot zone where campaign signs are illegal under state law, and she was concerned about the message it was sending to voters.

In a statement, County Attorney Ian McConeghey said no criminal charges are expected at this time. Reached by phone and asked why he chose not to file charges, McConeghey said he would not comment beyond his emailed statement.

A spokesperson for the Iowa Attorney General said that office provided guidance to McConeghey, and said county attorneys and local law enforcement determine whether there was a violation of Iowa's election misconduct laws.

Original post from Thursday, Oct. 22, at 10:20 a.m.

Officials in western Iowa’s Monona County said Thursday they are working to remove a vehicle decorated with campaign flags that is parked too close to an early voting location, likely in violation of Iowa law.

A photo of the military-style truck from Wednesday shows it parked right outside the county courthouse with a large “Trump 2020” sign and two Trump flags.

“We are working on trying to come up with a solution to this as soon as possible,” said Monona County Auditor Peggy Rolph. “But it seems every road we take, there’s a roadblock.”

Rolph, a Democrat, said the truck is parked within 300 feet of the county courthouse. It is illegal in Iowa to post campaign signs within 300 feet of a voting site.

She said she has been working with the county attorney and county sheriff to get the truck moved. She said it was first parked outside the courthouse Wednesday shortly before 9:00 a.m.

“I contacted my sheriff, I contacted my county attorney trying to get it moved,” Rolph said. “They were looking into the code to see what we can do about getting it moved. They removed it last night probably about a quarter to 5:00, but when we returned to work this morning it was back, and it has more flags on it.”

She said they are waiting for direction from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, and County Attorney Ian McConeghey said in an email all further questions should be directed to the board.

But Andrew Greenberg, attorney for the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, said the board does not have jurisdiction over signs for federal candidates.

Rolph said there have not been any people around the courthouse interfering with voters, but she’s concerned about the message the truck sends to voters.

“I have voters that have come in and commented on it, and they don’t like it,” Rolph said. “There are a few that came in and said, ‘Yeah, way to go!’ But most of them that have come in don’t like the sign that’s out front.”

Iowa Public Radio was notified of this issue through ProPublica’s Electionland collaboration. Click here for more information about how to help us cover voting problems in Iowa.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter