Updated: Second Complaint Filed Against Braley as House Race Against Lange Heats Up
Ben Lange, running for Congress against incumbent Democrat Bruce Braley, has filed an ethics complaint against the first district representative.
Updated 6:07 p.m.
As the race for Iowa's first district congressional seat heats up, Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat, is the subject of a second ethics complaint in as many weeks.
His opponent in the race, Ben Lange, a Republican from Independence, filed the latest complaint on Monday with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
The complaint stems from a "Whistle-Stop Tour" train ride Braley took on August 17 between Fairfax and Marshalltown.
The ethics complaint is based on the fact that neither Fairfax nor Marshalltown are in Braley's current congressional district. Thanks to redistricting, however, they will both be part of the first district after the November election.
Braley's campaign called the event an effort “to promote and support enhancements to infrastructure in Iowa." The Lange campaign, however, framed it as a campaign event, and said it therefore shouldn't be funded with taxpayer dollars.
"Americans are tired of career politicians in Washington who believe they are above the law and who use our hard-earned taxpayer dollars for their own political benefit, particularly when such expenditures violate House ethics rules," Lange wrote in the complaint.
Earlier this month, Matt Giese, a former chairman of the Dubuque County Republicans, filed a similar complaint, based on a "Deficit Reduction Workshop" Braley had planned in Cedar Rapids. Braley subsequently canceled the event.
The Braley campaign, however, dismissed the complaints.
"It's like deja vu all over again. In 2010, Ben Lange and his allies filed two complaints against Rep. Braley that were so frivolous, they were never taken up by the Ethics Committee. That should tell you everything you need to know about the merit of Lange's latest claims," said Jeff Giertz, Braley's campaign manager, in an email.
Lange adviser Cody Brown disagreed with Giertz's statement.
“That is just simply false. Some other groups filed ethics complaints during the last cycle,” he said. "What other groups or individuals do, it's outside of our control."
"I stand by what I said," Giertz responded. "Lange and his political allies are the only ones who have found anything wrong with Bruce Braley's actions, and none of their complaints have been found to have merit. I think that speak volumes about what's motivating these attacks."