DOESN’T LOOK GOOD: PMX Industries and its CEO have given $500,000 to the Harkin Institute of Public Policy, housed at Iowa State University. Cedar Rapids-based PMX Industries supplies metal to the U.S. Mint for the $1 coin and is part of an alliance pushing Congress to phase out $1 bills in favor of Coins. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is sponsoring legislation to do that. Senate ethics rules bar lobbyists from giving money to a charitable fund controlled by a member. Harkin is not answering questions about whether he’s been involved in fundraising for the Harkin Institute. Emails show ISU President Steven Leath has discussed fundraising for the institute with both Harkin and his wife, Ruth, a member of the university’s governing board. There’s no proof of ethics rules violations, but the senator should clear up what appears to be a conflict of interest.
PLUG ’EM: Iowans are digging new wells much faster than they’re plugging old ones abandoned, which can pollute aquifers below ground level and cause safety hazards above.
GANGING UP: Outbreaks of both influenza and the “stomach flu,” actually the less dangerous norovirus, are reported in at least half of Iowa.
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