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Activists Take Message to State Officials’ Doorsteps

July 14, 2012
Des Moines Register

Three busloads of activists traveled to two state officials’ homes Saturday advocating for the dismissal of one of the regents who oversees the state universities.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement organized afternoon protests at the homes of Jeff Boeyink, Gov. Terry Branstad’s chief of staff, and David Roederer, director of the Iowa Department of Management.

Citizens for Community Improvement filed an ethics complaint last month against Regent Bruce Rastetter, accusing him of abusing his position to acquire land in Tanzania that would benefit AgriSol Energy Corp., where Rastetter is managing director.

The protesters demanded that Branstad dismiss him. Under Iowa law, Branstad has the authority to suspend and replace regents, although removals must be confirmed by the Iowa Senate during the legislative session.

In any case, Branstad has said he supports Rastetter, the largest contributor to his 2010 campaign for governor.

Representatives for Rastetter have said that he has acted with integrity.

The activists boarded three school buses Saturday and traveled to the homes of the two members of the Branstad administration. While there, with the aid of a megaphone, they held “ethics hearings” outside of the men’s homes and passed out pamphlets to neighbors.

Several neighbors came out of their homes in Boeyink’s neighborhood. One man tried to take the materials left on Boeyink’s doorstep, but after a brief discussion with some of the protesters he agreed to return it. The man declined to be interviewed.

Citizens for Community Improvement organizer David Goodner said the activists spoke briefly with Roederer outside his home.

The state ethics board will consider the complaint against Rastetter at its next meeting in August. A date for the meeting has not been announced.