House panel dismisses ethics complaint against southeast Iowa lawmaker

DES MOINES — Republicans and Democrats on an Iowa House committee have unanimously voted to dismiss an ethics complaint against Republican Jeff Shipley, a state representative from Birmingham.

Sara Hayden Parris of Johnston accused Shipley of defaming her on social media and her complaint alleged that was a violation of the House Ethics Code. Parris is president of a non-profit that distributes free books with sexual content that have been banned in some schools. Shipley has accused her of distributing obscene material and has said on social media that she should be under criminal investigation.

“(The complaint) really seemed politically motivated,” House Ethics Committee chair Anne Osmundson of Volga said after the panel’s brief meeting. “He had not violated any of the House Code of Ethics rules.”

In the complaint, Parris accused Shipley of “commiting libel” against her. In a written response, Shipley said the House Ethics Committee should not be used as “a forum for personal grudges.”