On September 20th, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board unanimously dismissed all ethics charges against Rebel Snodgrass made in a complaint filed by Jennifer Chess on June 4, 2018. Megan Tooker, executive director and legal counsel for the Board, notified Snodgrass in a letter dated October 3rd.
Snodgrass, a small businessman from Indianola, is the Republican nominee in Iowa House District 26 running against State Representative Scott Ourth (D-Ackworth).
While Chess directed her complaint against Snodgrass, it also alleged that the Iowa Firearms Coalition, the NRA Political Victory Fund, and Phil Thompson, then an employee of NRA-PVF and now the Republican nominee for the race in Iowa House District 47, violated Iowa campaign ethics laws while cooperating with the Snodgrass campaign.
The allegations included:
- that Rebel Snodgrass had, in 2016, illegally obtained “NRA member and target voter lists, from the National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund . . . . [through] . . .Phil Thompson [who]
. ..was subsequently fired from the NRA for said actions.”
- that Rebel Snodgrass illegally paid $10000 in seed money to form the Spirit of 76 Consulting LLC in exchange for voter data and consulting services from the Iowa Firearms Coalition;
- that Rebel’s business, All American Exteriors, illegally paid its employees to do campaign work;
- that Rebel’s campaign failed to report these illegal in-kind contributions to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board;
- that campaign signs were illegally placed on real property and vehicles owned by All American Exteriors.
The Board found there was no evidence to support any of the charges concerning the Iowa Firearms Coalition and NRA-PVF. The investigation found that Phil Thompson, the Republican candidate for Iowa House District 47 and former NRA-PVF employee, was never fired by NRA-PVF, but ended his employment there with the completion of his employment contract.
The Board found no corroborating evidence to prove the allegation that All American Exteriors employees were paid to do campaign work. The Board found the campaign did not violate the Iowa statute prohibiting campaign signs on property owned, leased, or occupied by a corporation by placing campaign signs on real estate and vehicles personally owned by Rebel Snodgrass.
When the charges were made, Rebel Snodgrass told the Indianola Record-Herald, they were “100 percent pure fiction”. Once he was cleared Snodgrass stated, “I express my gratitude for the Board’s impartial investigation. These lies not only smeared my campaign but also the Iowa Firearms Coalition and the NRA Political Victory Fund. My opposition has proven they will tell any lie to win, no matter who it hurts. Thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for the investigation, as well as the time and money of the innocent, was wasted by this reckless complaint. This is the worst kind of dirty politics.”
Read the Ethics Board’s findings and Tooker’s report to the board:
Disclosure: This author is a volunteer with Rebel Snodgrass’ campaign.