Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA) spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to hire leftist “fixer” Marc Elias just two days after a complaint was filed against her for failing to disclose stock trades worth up to $645,000.
The nonpartisan watchdog organization Campaign Legal Center filed an ethics complaint against Axne last September showing that she sold dozens of assets with values ranging from “approximately $43,043 to $645,000″ in 2019 and 2020 without disclosing the transactions as required by the federal STOCK Act. That law requires lawmakers to report qualifying financial transactions to a government office within 30 days.
Immediately thereafter, Axne paid the Elias Law Group almost $5,700 between September 24 and 30 to enter into a “non-technology service contract.” Those payments are revealed in House disbursement disclosure records. The contract continued at least into October when an additional $12,567 was paid to Elias.
Axne is facing a challenging reelection effort. President Donald Trump carried her congressional district in both 2016 and 2020. She finally admitted that she failed to report her trades according to law, calling the failure a “clerical issue.” She also admitted that she hired “outside counsel to audit her records.” She did not disclose who she had hired, however.
Elias has come to the aid of multiple Democrats facing controversy. He was hired by losing Iowa Democratic candidate Rita Hart to attempt to overturn a House election in 2020. Elias used an unprecedented strategy of seeking a House vote on the issue, leading to more than $800,000 in legal fees billed to taxpayers.
Iowa Republican Party Chair Jeff Kaufmann said that Axne has used taxpayer funds to “subvert the will of Iowa voters.” He said that it is offensive that she hired Elias, who sought to “destroy democracy.”
At the time Axne failed to comply with the financial disclosures law, she was serving on the House Financial Services Committee. She then came out in February in opposition to efforts in Congress to ban stock trading by lawmakers.
After getting called out for her opposition, she flipped her position in a single day, stating that she “firmly believes” in a ban on individual stock trades by federal officials and holding them accountable to “improve confidence” in the government.
Republicans have targeted Axne’s district as a key seat in the strategy to retake control of the House in this year’s midterm elections. Republicans running in the party primary to challenge Axne include Air Force veteran state senator Zach Nunn and financial planner Nicole Hasso.