Auditor: Iowa Gov. Reynolds must return $450K in COVID funds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s state auditor again called for Gov. Kim Reynolds to return nearly $450,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds that were used to pay for 21 governor’s office staff members for three months in 2020.

In a report released Tuesday, Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, repeated his recommendation from October 2020 and last December that the funds be returned.

Sand says the Republican governor misspent the federal money and tried to conceal it by passing it through the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Reynolds says she believes the use of funds was permissible. And a spokesman for Reynolds has said Reynolds’ staff members spent most of their time responding to the pandemic during the months in question.