Reynolds Reportedly Earmarks $10 Million In COVID Funds to Cops
This story continues to be an ever-changing saga over how the state is using--or allegedly misusing--Coronavirus relief funding.
One day after announcing the state would return $21 million of misappropriated coronavirus funds, Governor Kim Reynolds states, according to CBS2, she will send $10 million of this earmarked virus funding to state law enforcement in Iowa.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety (IDPS), which includes agencies such as the Iowa State Patrol, the Division of Criminal Investigation, the Division of Narcotics Enforcement and the State Fire Marshal, among other units, this money is listed in a state report as being earmarked for "state Government COVID staffing".
It's already being questioned if the allocation to these agencies is an appropriate use of pandemic relief funding as "it will support payroll expenses for employees whose services were diverted to a substantially different use as a result of COVID-19", according to the report.
An IDPS spokesperson says the funds will be used to pay the salaries of about 550 sworn officers, road troopers and criminal investigators, who, it is said, have been essential workers throughout the pandemic, as they always are, but have mostly carried out their routine work of enforcing traffic laws and helping local police investigate crimes--work largely NOT directly related to the pandemic. The spokesperson also says it "appears" to be an allowable use of pandemic funds according to guidance from the Treasury Department.
On another note, the original $21 million that the Governor wanted to use for technology upgrades will be returned to the coronavirus relief fund for a different use by December 31. But she is apparently not giving up on IT projects as $16.9 million that she says was granted and earmarked pre-virus is expected to fund a different such project. A state report insists that these technology projects will help in the event of another pandemic.