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Rastetter Unsure of When Regents Will Discuss Allegations against Him

July 20, 2012
Daily Iowan

by Jordyn Reiland


State Board of Regents President Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter said he unsure whether the ethics complaint filed against him will be discussed when the Regents meet the first week of August.

Rastetter sat down for an interview Wednesday with Daily Iowan reporters and editors to speak about recent allegations surrounding his connection to Tanzania and his hopes as a regent in the future.

Last month, the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement filed a complaint against the regent with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, alleging there was a conflict of interest involving Iowa State University with the Tanzanian deal. Rastetter said there was only a conflict of interest if Iowa State had remained a part in the project; the university backed out of the project in February. The Community Improvement group also released a report with the Oakland Institute alleging AgriSol is responsible in part for human rights violations against refugees in Tanzania.

"Would it have been better for the project had I not become a regent?" Rastetter said. "You know, we can speculate and debate on that … and maybe they still would be in it."

Rastetter is a cofounder and managing director of AgriSol.

In a June DI Guest Opinion, David Goodner — a member of the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement — said the regents may or may not officially address the complaint at the upcoming meeting in August.

"[Regent] President [Craig] Lang and Downer set the [regents'] agenda, and I will just leave it to them," Rastetter said.

Regent Robert Downer was not available for comment as of Thursday night.

Rastetter said that although some have seen the relationship between him and Iowa State University as a potential conflict, he looks forward to his upcoming term and plans on advocating in engagement between Iowans.

"We need to make sure that we re-engage Iowans everywhere and understand the value of the three universities, and not just those that graduate from here," he said.