It was difficult to learn the Iowa Senate Commerce Committee Republicans decided to kill a bill that would have protected Iowans’ private property rights.
On Wednesday, a bill that would prohibit eminent domain from being used for a private project by a private company was pulled off the agenda due to a lack of Republican support.
Interestingly, when we spoke with Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. Jason Schultz, we asked what the conservative logic is for opposing such a bill. Here is what he said:
“But I have talked to folks who I believe are conservative,” he said. “They say that the reason the process that’s in place, in code right now was put in place, was to remove political favoritism or ostracism from project-to-project decisions. I’m just trying to relay what was I told by folks who thought that we need to let it go. That’s their position.”
Ironically, politics has its fingerprints all over this project.
Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad serves as senior policy advisor to Summit Carbon Solutions, one of three companies building the pipelines.
Jake Ketzner is the vice president of government and public affairs for Summit. Ketzner was chief of staff for Gov. Kim Reynolds. He was a longtime aide to Branstad as well.
Bruce Rastetter is CEO of Summit Agricultural Group, which created Summit Carbon Solutions to address the “global challenge of decarbonization.”
Already in 2021, Rastetter has contributed $10,000 to Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver and $25,000 to Gov. Kim Reynolds.
In 2020, Rastetter gave:
$35,000 to Speaker Pat Grassley
$25,000 to Reynolds
$20,000 to Whitver
$10,000 to House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl
$5,000 to Senate President Jake Chapman
He also gave $1,000 contributions to a handful of other state legislators.
In 2019, he gave $50,000 to the Republican Party of Iowa.
Eric Branstad, who serves as President Donald J. Trump’s Save America PAC leader in Iowa as well as Iowa Faith & Freedom Director of Legislative Affairs, was at the Iowa Capitol on Wednesday for hours. Wednesday was the day the bill was taken off the committee’s agenda.
Schultz, for what it is worth, said he wasn’t aware Eric Branstad was at the Capitol on Wednesday. Eric Branstad, of course, is the son of Terry Branstad, who works for Summit Carbon Solutions.