State Auditor Rob Sand took the oath of office last week becoming the second Democrat to hold that office in Iowa in 100 years. Even before he took office the Republican Party of Iowa went on the attack.
They took aim at the Iowa Lottery scandal case he prosecuted as Assistant Attorney General, a case that he campaigned on.
“During his campaign for State Auditor, Rob Sand would tell anyone who would listen what a great prosecutor he was,” Jeff Kaufmann, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, said. “But the reality is he blew it – in this case, he failed to get a firm sentence or restitution from the people who cheated the Iowa Lottery. Before negotiating a plea bargain, he should have made the cheaters give up their illegal gains – he didn’t. It looks like he was more interested in getting his name in the paper than in doing his job correctly.”
The Des Moines Register recently reported very little restitution had been paid and the state’s attempt at placing a lien on local property failed:
Eddie Tipton argued in court filings that the lien was unconstitutional because it would interfere with his constitutional right to counsel and result in a deprivation of property without due process. Polk County District Court Judge Brad McCall agreed and dismissed the state’s attempt to place liens against the property.
Some of the money Tipton scammed in rigged drawings was acquired a decade before his arrest, records show.
Many banks and financial institutions are not required to maintain records that old, which made it difficult for prosecutors to directly link Eddie Tipton’s assets with the winnings, said Sand, the former Iowa prosecutor in the Tipton cases.
“Unless we could very specifically and very clearly show that the money he was paying for them (properties) with was stolen money, we couldn’t do anything about it,” said Sand, who in November was elected as Iowa’s state auditor.
Multiple states are owed restitution and all so far have been unable to collect it.
The Associated Press reported that Eddie Tipton was given a sentence, but would not come close to serving that:
Under Iowa law, Tipton is likely to serve far less than 25 years — probably between three and five years, said Iowa Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand, who prosecuted the case. The Iowa Board of Parole will ultimately determine how long he’s behind bars.
“I think when you’re an insider who abuses your position of trust and privilege you should expect to see the inside of a jail cell,” Sand said.
As far as the Tipton case goes, it stinks hardly any restitution has been paid, but here are the facts: 1. Sand secured a conviction and a 25-year sentence. How much of that sentence that is served was not up to him. 2. Iowa was not owed restitution, other states were. It is up to those states to collect. 3. Sand attempted to have a lien placed on Tipton’s property, but a judge ruled against that, what exactly was he supposed to do? 4. Sand resigned his position shortly after the conviction to campaign for State Auditor. How could he enforce a plea agreement if he was not even with the Attorney General’s office anymore.
Sand appeared on Iowa Press over the weekend, and Iowa Press tweeted this quote from Sand:
Kaufmann fired back: “Once again, Rob Sand has proven he’s a partisan, political agent who will weaponize the state auditor’s office for his own gain and to further his political ambitions. Rob’s no watchdog, he’s just looking for his next job.”
Supposedly Sand is partisan because he complained about a partisan attack?
Look, I voted for Mary Mosiman. I was concerned that Sand was not a CPA and I will watch to see how that impacts his performance as State Auditor and what kind of fiscal impact it may make. I will also watch to see if conducts the office in a partisan manner or not. However, the guy has only been in office for less than a week.
In the course of that time, he has hired a Republican and an independent to be a part of his senior leadership team and he launched a “transparency Friday” video series that will give constituents updates on what his office is working on.
Those activities are not partisan. Will Sand be at odds with Governor Kim Reynolds at times? No doubt. The state auditor should be a check on the Governor, but that does not mean he is weaponizing the office especially if it is a good faith disagreement. The simple fact is this: voters of Iowa approved his platform and elections have consequences.
The Republican Party of Iowa unfairly launched into an attack before Sand has even had a chance to do the job. If he does conduct himself in a partisan manner I’ll certainly call him on it, but so far the only person to demonstrate partisanship is Jeff Kaufmann.