Blum, Finkenauer defend records in first of 2 debates

October 6, 2018 GMT

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Incumbent Republican Rep. Rod Blum and his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Abby Finkenauer, downplayed their own political scandals in the first of two planned debates before the Nov. 6 election for Iowa’s 1st District House seat.

The two defended their records Friday at the debate held in Cedar Falls and sparred over trade and other policies, the Courier reported .


Finkenauer responded to questions about failing to note her change of employment in 2015 when she became the director of Make It Work, a nonprofit organization that advocates equal pay, family leave and other working-family issues. She said she obviously wasn’t trying to hide the job, noting that she was proud of the new post and reported it in a local newspaper.

“The second I found there was a new way or new requirement to report the employment to the Iowa House, I did so,” she said.

Blum, meanwhile, downplayed his failure to disclose his involvement in founding a Dubuque business that promises it can help businesses bury negative information below the first page of internet search results. Blum faces a U.S. House Ethics Committee inquiry for his actions involving Tin Moon Corp.

“This is a $1,000 company, it started with $700 investment from myself, and $300 from another partner, that has resulted in $2 million of attack ads,” Blum said. “I forgot to list on my disclosure report that I was on the board of directors of a $700 company. I apologized and I self-reported as soon as I found out about it.”

The two also squared off on President Donald Trump’s trade policy, with Blum lauding Trump’s recent renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. But Finkenauer said the president’s policies that have ignited competing tariffs are hurting Iowa farmers.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com