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Supporting Private Schools in Iowa the Next Agenda Item for Koch Brothers-Funded Group

Joyce Russell/IPR
Americans for Prosperity Iowa Director Drew Klein at the Machine Shed restaurant.

A spokesman for the Koch Brothers-funded organization Americans for Prosperity says school choice is their next top issue to push through the Iowa legislature.    

The group last week saw completion of their number one priority, rewriting Iowa’s collective bargaining law. 

The bill reduces the bargaining rights for public workers in Iowa and affects their ability to raise money and stay organized.

Speaking at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Americans for Prosperity’s Drew Klein received kudos for his work on the collective bargaining bill.  

He outlined the rest of the group’s plans.

“We rolled out about two years ago our Reform Iowa agenda,” Klein said.

Number two on the list is school choice:   putting  state dollars into individual savings accounts to be used for  private schools.

“We talk about school choice and using market forces that work in every other area of the economy,” Klein said.   “I still think there's an opportunity to do something related to school choice this year.” 

Though Klein admits there may not be enough money in the budget for the legislation this year. 

A bill has been filed in the Senate to divert state dollars away from public schools to families to use for private schools or home schools.   The House considered a similar bill last year.  

On another issue, Klein downplayed an ethics complaint filed against him this week for not registering as a lobbyist on the collective bargaining bill.

“I won’t comment too much but I'm now officially the subject of an ethics investigation in the House because evidently I broke some sacred rule despite the fact that I've not been  subject to this scrutiny for the last five  years I've been a lobbyist,” Klein said.

House and Senate rules require lobbyists to declare their advocacy either for or against any bill.  The complaint was filed by the Iowa Federation of Labor.  The House Ethics Committee is considering the complaint.    

“Right now anything we talk about on that particular case is confidential,” said Ethics Committee Chair Rep. Rob Taylor (R-West Des Moines.)    “The case is in the discovery phase.”