Fund Raising for Iowa State’s Harkin Institute Draws Criticism

Prominent Democratic Party donors, Iowa business executives, a union, and an energy company are among the first major contributors to a new policy institute at Iowa State University that’s intended to honor one of the state’s U.S. senators, Tom Harkin, a Democrat and 1962 alumnus. According to the Associated Press, the donations include $150,000 from MidAmerican Energy and $100,000 from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, both of which lobby the U.S. Senate. But the initial donations have fallen short of what the university said last spring it expected to receive for the Harkin Institute for Public Policy, which will house Senator Harkin’s papers and conduct research. Meanwhile, Iowa Republicans have criticized the notion of honoring a politician while he is still in office, and questioned whether research at institute would be biased.

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