Hanusa runs for state auditor, accuses Sand of ‘witch hunts’

January 6, 2022 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Republican representative said she is running for state auditor, accusing the Democratic incumbent of conducting “political witch hunts” that don’t help taxpayers.

Mary Ann Hanusa, who represented Council Bluffs from 2011 to 2021, said she would seek the GOP nomination to run against Democrat Rob Sand. Hanusa, who has been endorsed by Gov. Kim Reynolds and other top Republicans, accused Sand of using the office to launch baseless investigations based on partisan politics.

“Using the powers of the office for political witch hunts is a sideshow that does nothing for the taxpayers,” she said on her campaign website.

Sand has conducted audits that criticized Reynolds for misusing federal funds.

A 2020 audit accused the governor of using $21 million in coronavirus aid for a state software program. She later returned the money.

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Another audit last year found Reynolds had improperly used COVID funds for salaries to pay her staff. A federal review is underway to determine whether the money was appropriately used under federal guidelines.

Sand also questioned whether Reynolds’ spending on COVID-19 advertising was appropriate under a 2018 state law that prohibited statewide elected officials from using public money for self promotion. In August, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board found the governor did not violate the law.

Another audit alleged the Medicaid program illegally denied care to some program recipients.

Sand, a former state prosecutor of white-collar crime, also has sought increased penalties for public officials who misspend public money through proposed legislation.

He announced plans to run for a second term in December.

Sand defeated the incumbent Republican auditor, Mary Mosiman, in his first run for statewide office in 2018.