Jack-Hatch
State Senator Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines)

The Republican Party of Iowa held a press conference highlighting Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jack Hatch’s “legislative maneuvering for personal financial gain.”

State Senator Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines) who represents Iowa Senate District 17 is a member of the Senate Economic Growth/Rebuild Iowa Committee.  He was assigned to chair the subcommittee for Senate File 95 during the 2013 legislative session by committee chair State Senator Steven Sodders (D-State Center).  The bill, introduced by State Senator Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale), sought to reduce the maximum amount of developer tax credits through the Iowa Finance Authority from 15% to 10%.

“I wanted this bill to at least get a hearing so Iowans could debate the appropriate level of tax credits that benefit real estate developers,” State Senator Jake Chapman (R-Adel) said. “Nonetheless, with real estate mogul Jack Hatch chairing the subcommittee, legislators and informed constituents found out quickly that the bill was DOA.”

Chapman was the sole Republican on the subcommittee that also included State Senator William Dotzler (D-Waterloo).

The Republican Party of Iowa contends that Hatch benefitted from the legislations failure as a real estate developer claiming that he would have missed out on $2 million in taxpayer money.

Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann called for Hatch to release his tax returns so Iowans could determine whether he benefitted from the legislation being tabled or not.

“Now you know why Jack Hatch keeps hiding his tax returns from Iowa journalists and voters,” Kaufmann said. “Hatch made millions off of tax credits and developer fees during his time as a liberal Des Moines lawmaker. He needs to come clean with Iowans and release at least five yearsof his tax return so people can decide for themselves whether he personally benefited from his actions—and lack of action—as a lawmaker.”

“This new information fits into a pattern: Jack Hatch has hidden the truth about his business from Iowans. He invested a pittance and then personally cashed in on developer tax credits to the tune of millions of dollars while bashing the Branstad administration for using tax credits to help Iowa business.  In Hatch’s case, Senate Democrats allowing him to chair a subcommittee on economic development and tax credits is like a fox guarding the hen house,” Kaufmann added.

Jake Ketzner, campaign manager for Governor Terry Branstad, in an email to supporters said this information raises some serious ethical questions.

  1. Why did Hatch kill Senate File 95 in 2013, a bill that would have cut developer fees by 1/3 and personally cost Hatch millions, and why didn’t he hold a sub-committee meeting or bring the bill up for a vote?
  2. What is Jack Hatch hiding in his tax returns? Hatch needs to immediately release at minimum the four additional years of tax returns his campaign manager originally agreed to, particularly after today’s serious revelation of his direct personal financial benefit from his actions as a state senator.
  3. Finally, why did Senate Democrats appoint Hatch sub-committee chair of a bill to which he had direct, financial ties?

I agree.  While it is doubtful that this bill would have advanced as subcommittees are where Republican bills go to die in the Democratically-held Iowa Senate Hatch chairing this subcommittee is an obvious conflict of interest.  Sodders as the committee chair should have never appointed Hatch to the subcommittee let alone assign him as chair.  Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) did nothing to rectify the situation.  At the very least Hatch could have held a vote, but what he should have done is recuse himself because of the obvious conflict of interest.

Iowans should expect ethical behavior from their legislators, not members using their seat to protect their personal financial interest regardless of political party.

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