Lobbyist Says Secretary of State Office’s Bad File Keeping Set Back Iowa Gun Rights Amendment

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- More information is being revealed about what led to the failure of a year-long effort to add a gun rights amendment to Iowa's constitution.

According to a lobbyist who led the effort for more than a decade, the Secretary of State's Office had trouble with organizing files and folders properly.

"After speaking with legislators on Monday, and after speaking with the Secretary of State`s Office and his staff, I don't see any way forward other than just to begin again," said Richard Rogers, a lobbyist for Iowa Firearms Coalition. "There just doesn't seem to be any viable solution to fix this."

It's back to square one for lawmakers and pro-gun advocates who were well on their way to getting a gun rights constitutional amendment ballot measure put before Iowa voters in the upcoming presidential election.

"We were looking forward to having that fight in 2020," said Rogers. "Now, it will be 2022."

Rogers isn't interested in pointing fingers, after the Secretary of State's Office accidentally killed the measure.

"I don`t think there was any malice at all," said Rogers. "They`re very upset about this. It tarnishes their professional reputation and the Secretary of State (Paul) Pate himself is an advocate of our measure."

Paul Pate says his office made a "bureaucratic oversight" when it failed to publish the required notifications in Iowa newspapers, as required by law.

"They went through a detailed explanation of how this occurred," said Rogers. "And, I'm absolutely positive it was inadvertent.

Rogers explained to us how the mistake happened, as it was explained to him by the Secretary of State's Office.

"One or two people that had done this in the past had left, and when they saw the files come down and the standard files from the legislature, they treated them in the standard way, not realizing that it was a different animal," said Rogers. "Because the markings were the same, and so it was filed away, and once it's filed, [it is] out of sight, out of mind."

And how was it that the mistake was discovered?

"A former state employee was writing a book about the Constitution," said Rogers. "And came to the Secretary of State`s Office to inquire about these two Constitutional amendments and at that point is when they were digging into it and realized that this requirement had not been met."

Channel 13 has made repeated requests for an on camera interview with the Secretary of State, and his communications director says he is working on finding an availability.


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