Iowa Guv Used COVID Money To Pay Her Own Staff, Audit Reveals | Talking Points Memo

Iowa’s governor used federal COVID relief funds to pay her own staff’s salaries and cover a pre-existing budget shortfall, the state’s auditor said in a report released Monday.

The report accused Gov. Kim Reynolds’ (R) office of using nearly $450,000 from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund — part of the CARES Act meant to help local governments deal with COVID — to pay the salaries and benefits of 21 staffers from mid-March through June 2020.

Though the money was used to pay staff in the governor’s office, it was taken from the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s COVID response funds — even though the staffers paid with the money didn’t qualify for the COVID money, state auditor Rob Sand found. The blog Bleeding Heartland first reported the payments in September.

A spokesperson for Reynolds told auditors that during the time period in question, the governor’s office was focused on COVID response — but, “Documentation to support this conclusion was never provided,” the report noted. Reynolds’ office also has not provided documentation describing how the money was allocated, nor anything describing the time each staffer spent on COVID, the report said…

Source: Iowa Guv Used COVID Money To Pay Her Own Staff, Audit Reveals | Talking Points Memo