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Ethics board dismisses complaint against Iowa regent Rastetter

Diane Heldt, CR Gazette –

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board will not move forward with a complaint against state Board of Regents members Bruce Rastetter.

The ethics board made the decision Thursday, after a discussion in closed session of the complaint against Rastetter made by the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement group. A CCI representative and an attorney for Rastetter each had 10 minutes to present their sides to the board before the closed session.

CCI member Ross Grooters argued Rastetter acted unethically in trying to use ISU’s involvement to further his company’s proposed land deal in Tanzania. Rastetter was late in filing his conflict of interest disclosure form with the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure board after he became a regent in May 2011, and was slow to recuse himself from the project after he became a regent, Grooters said.

“It’s meaningless when the firewall between Bruce Rastetter and Iowa State University does not exist,” he said.

Richard Sapp, the Des Moines attorney who represented Rastetter at the hearing, said the CCI complaint does not present any facts that Rastetter improperly benefited from Iowa State’s consulting role in the proposed land project. ISU’s involvement as a consultant dated back to 2009, before Rastetter’s term as a regent began on May 1, 2011, Sapp said.

“This complaint is full of innuendo, miscontructions” and misunderstanding of Iowa law, Sapp said. “There is nothing.”

The CCI complaint against Rastetter is politically motivated by a group with a social and political agenda, Sapp said.

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