Reynolds says ride on donor’s plane pre-approved by Ethics Board

DES MOINES — Governor Kim Reynolds says she got state Ethics Board approval before accepting a free plane ride to Memphis to see Iowa State play in the Liberty Bowl last December.

“We do that when we lead trade missions and when we do a lot of things,” Reynolds said Thursday. “We want to make sure that we’re in front of it, that we get the approval prior to the trip and that’s what we did and they said it was fine and so we went.”

Reynolds and three family members took the trip. The Associated Press reports the plane Reynolds flew in is owned by a company that manages workers comp claims for the state. According to the AP’s review of state records, the company’s owner paid for the flight and Reynolds got Ethics Board approval to accept it as a campaign donation because campaign activities were on the governor’s schedule. Reynolds declined to offer details about her campaign-related events in Memphis.

“We were just meeting with donors and it was an opportunity to get in front of Iowans and share the excitement of Iowa State making a bowl game,” Reynolds told a group of reporters this afternoon. “…It’s always a continuation when you’re talking to donors and trying to raise money for your efforts.”

Reynolds got an invoice from Iowa State for four bowl game tickets and paid ISU by check about a month after the game. Iowa State officials say that process is standard procedure for state officials and other VIPs who are invited to games. The football tickets were $95 each. It’s against the state gift law for officials like the governor to accept gifts worth more than $3 from individuals and organizations doing business with the state or seeking to influence policy.

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