Joni Ernst supports “transparency”, “accountability” in the border mission
US Senator Joni Ernst said Iowa taxpayers have an “absolutely” right to know what Iowa State Patrol soldiers are doing to help Texas on the US-Mexico border.
Governor Kim Reynolds approved the deployment of 29 Iowa State Border Patrol soldiers in June in response to a request for assistance from Texas. Reynolds said Iowa would pay the cost of the operation. This cost is unknown until the expenses are calculated after the end of the mission. State officials did not share details of the soldiers’ duties, citing security concerns.
“I think transparency is always the best policy,” Ernst said on a call with reporters Wednesday. “And so I would like to know of course what our state soldiers are doing. I support the governor’s efforts there, but since our taxpayers’ money is being spent on that, yes we should have some responsibility. on the missions of these soldiers and how they will be used at the border.
Ernst, a Republican, said taxpayers deserve to know the soldiers’ overall mission, the agencies they are helping, and the impact on Iowa.
“It would be nice to know what they are involved with, what agencies they work with and how our taxpayers’ money is spent,” she said.
She said she heard law enforcement worried that poor border security could lead to human trafficking, gun smuggling and drug trafficking.
Reynolds spokesman Pat Garrett said the state will share more details once the mission is complete.
“There is no dispute over the importance of transparency and accountability,” Garrett said in a statement. “Our office and the Ministry of Public Security will continue to share as much information as possible without compromising the mission at the southern border of the country. More details will be shared once the mission is completed.”
Ernst spokesman Brendan Conley then reiterated that Ernst supported Reynolds’ decision to deploy the Iowa State Patrol to Texas.
As Senator Ernst said on the call, she fully supports Governor Reynolds’ leadership on this matter and the mission that Iowa State Patrol officers are undertaking to assist with enforcement activities. of the law at the southern border, ”Conley said in a statement. “She appreciates the information that has been shared so far and looks forward to further details once their assignment is complete.”
Chuck Grassley: “The Federal Government Is Not Doing Its Job”
In a call to reporters on Wednesday, Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said there should be transparency in the use of public money to fund the operation, but also welcomed Reynolds’ move.
“The spending of public money must be public,” he said. “But I think the governor is right to help the governor of Texas because the federal government is not doing its job. If it did its job, no one would cross the border.”
Grassley criticized Biden’s approach, calling it a “terribly embarrassing situation” for Democrats.
“I know from my county meetings that the Iowans are concerned about the border crisis, and I’m sure we’re going to have some Iowans applauding the governor for sending help there,” he said. declared.
Reynolds said on July 12 that the soldiers from Iowa arrived in Texas “a few days ago”. She said they would be in the Del Rio area in southwest Texas for 16 days.
State officials declined to share more details on the tasks Iowa state soldiers will perform at the border.
“For officer safety reasons, the Iowa State Patrol will not identify soldiers, their assignments, preparation for deployment, locations, travel plans, dates of deployment, accommodation or any other information specific to the mission in connection with the deployment, “Iowa Department of Public Security spokesperson, Debbie McClung, said.
Iowa is one of more than half a dozen Republican-led states to send law enforcement to Texas or Arizona under a Emergency management assistance compact which allows states to help each other in times of disaster or emergency.
Des Moines Register reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel contributed to this article.
Stephen Gruber-Miller covers the Iowa Statehouse and politics for the registry. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 515-284-8169. Follow him on Twitter at @sgrubermiller.