Waukee Point of Grace Church Pastor Jeff Mullen, who’s seeking election to Iowa Senate District 22, is crying foul after the president of the Iowa State Bar Association asked WHO Radio to remove radio ads critical of the organization or face legal action.
One of Mullen’s radio ads – which his opponent, Sen. Pat Ward, says distorts her record – claims Ward “is endorsed by the left-wing Iowa State Bar Association, the people who gave us a radical Supreme Court and gay marriage.”
In a letter to WHO Radio and the Des Moines Register, ISBA President Robert V.P. Waterman Jr. said the ad is “false and defamatory.” On May 23, the Bar Association asked Mullen to immediately retract the statement.
“The Iowa State Bar Association did not ‘give’ the state of Iowa a ‘radical Supreme Court,’” he wrote, explaining that justices are appointed by the governor on the basis of merit, after first having been advanced by a judicial nominating commission composed of an equal number of lay and lawyer members.
The Iowa State Bar Association does not nominate or appoint the lawyer members to any judicial nominating commissions and lawyer members of the commission are not required to be members of the ISBA, according to Waterman.
“The Iowa State Bar Association did not ‘give’ Iowa ‘gay marriage.’” Waterman wrote. “Rather, the Iowa Supreme Court determined that an Iowa law limiting marriage to a man and a woman was unconstitutional because it violated Iowa’s equal protection clause in its state constitution.”
In a press release, Mullen, a first-time candidate, said he’s not budging.
“Mr. Waterman and his organization are more upset at being exposed as the left-wing front that they are than anything else, and I’m not going to back down in my fight against out-of-control liberals and their out-of-control judges,” according to the press release.
“Every word is true,” he wrote. “Sometimes, the truth hurts.”
“In fact, all seven justices of the Iowa State Supreme Court were chosen by a panel of whom nearly half the membership are lawyers chosen through elections run by the Iowa State Bar Association,” Mullen claimed in the press release. “For anyone to insist the ISBA has nothing to do with this process is simply wrong.
“Mr. Waterman’s lawyeresque hair-splitting is an attempt to hide the fact that this group of left-wing lawyers were the people who gave us the nation’s most radical State Supreme Court – and gay marriage,” according to the press relese. “And this same group has not only endorsed Pat Ward for re-election, but delivered $1,300 in cash so she can run ads personally attacking me.”
Ward Defends Medicaid Vote That Included Abortion Funds
Mullen used the press release to continue to charge Ward, who has represented Senate District 21 for nine years and is now seeking election to the newly created Senate District 22, has voted for taxpayer-funded abortions.
He questioned a 2006 vote in which Ward voted to continue federal funding for abortions – which she said was part for Medicaid recipients as part of a larger human services budget bill.
To have defeated the measure, Ward said, would have denied thousands poor Iowans access to other health and human services. In an interview with Patch, she said that legislation was “strongly supported by other Republicans as well” and passed in the Senate, 40-8, and unanimously in the House, which was controlled by Republicans at the time.
Ward said that less than $80,000 in Iowa tax money goes to pay for abortions for Medicaid recipients at the University of Iowa. Fewer than 10 abortions a year are performed there, she said.
“I am a pro-life Republican, as are most of the Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate,” Ward said. “I have been a pro-life Republican from Day 1, and my track record speaks for itself.”
Mullen, who has refused Patch’s repeated requests for interviews, said in his press release that Ward is “having her allies at the left-wing Iowa State Bar Association attempt to intimidate me into taking my ad talking about Pat Ward’s liberal record off the air.”
“The politics of intimidation don’t work here in Iowa,” he wrote.
Patch will continue its coverage of the June 5 Senate District 22 primary next week.
Previously in this race, Patch reported: