I attended the August state ethics board meeting with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement concerning a conflict of interest complaint against Bruce Rastetter, a member of the Iowa Board of Regents. Rastetter involved Iowa State University in a deal to rent 800,000 acres of land for 25 cents an acre in Tanzania, while putting 160,000 refugee farmers off their land (the CCI complaint stated).
Rastetter’s company AgriSol spent more than $13,000 to send ISU people to Tanzania. What did they do for the company? Did they use their position with ISU to help sell this deal? We will never know what happened because the ethics board pushed it under the rug. Their lawyer said they might not have the authority to investigate. I thought that was their job!
I don’t know whether the ethics board was that dumb or with the threat from big money or being fired, they didn’t have the guts to do the right thing.
It is interesting that when CCI exposed the deal, Ratstetter amended a false disclosure statement he had filed, and ISU ran way from the deal.
A state representative said Rastetter is trying to help the Tanzanian farmers. The only person Rastetter is helping is himself. This could put Rastetter’s company in direct competition with Iowa farmers.
Gov. Branstad should do the right thing and fire Rastetter from the Board of Regents.
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