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Top Iowa aide to Steyer’s campaign resigns after AP report

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A top Iowa aide to businessman Tom Steyer has resigned a day after The Associated Press revealed he had privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing Steyer’s White House bid.

Steyer’s Democratic presidential campaign announced Patrick Murphy’s resignation in a statement late Friday.

In a statement Thursday, the former Iowa House speaker apologized for but did not deny the interactions and said the concerns expressed by his former colleagues about his overtures were the result of a “miscommunication.” He didn’t immediately respond to messages from the AP seeking comment Friday.

Murphy’s departure leaves Steyer without an Iowa political director with less than three months until the state’s lead-off caucuses. The businessman remains mired at the bottom of the polls.


The Latest: Bloomberg would focus on Super Tuesday states

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael Bloomberg plans to focus his likely presidential campaign on Super Tuesday states, skipping early voting states where other candidates have spent months meeting voters and building operations.

Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson says other candidates already have a big head start in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Wolfson says Bloomberg is “realistic” about where he can make up ground at this late stage.

That means Bloomberg would focus on the crush of states that vote on March 3, hoping to quickly amass delegates in California, Virginia and elsewhere. The billionaire’s vast personal wealth means he can start advertising and building a campaign apparatus in those states while other candidates are focused on the early primary contests.

Bloomberg is expected to make a final decision on the 2020 campaign in the coming days.


Court: Iowa college can’t count value of Grant Wood panels

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says a small liberal arts college in Cedar Rapids must continue to classify seven Grant Wood paintings as restricted gifts that cannot be sold.

Coe College doesn’t want to sell the paintings but has considered them unrestricted gifts, allowing the college to count them as an asset and boost the value of its endowment fund.

An auditor in 2016 concluded they should be reclassified as restricted property, which reduces the endowment’s available assets by $5.4 million.

Hotel magnate Eugene Eppley gave the college the seven panels that once made up the Grant Wood mural “The Fruits of Iowa” in 1976. Eppley required the paintings to remain in Coe’s library, so auditors argued they can’t be sold and must be held as a restricted asset.

The college took the case to court and a district court judge concluded Eppley’s intent must be honored.

The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday agreed, saying courts often require donation recipients to abide by donors’ wishes.


Iowa inmate’s claim he briefly died won’t end life sentence

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Appeals Court has ruled against a convicted killer who says he “died” during a medical emergency and thus fulfilled his life sentence.

Wapello County court records say Benjamin Schreiber has been serving the life term since being convicted in 1997 of beating a man to death.

Schreiber says his heart stopped five times on March 30, 2015, at a hospital where he’d been taken from the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.

Schreiber filed for release in April 2018.

A district judge found little merit in Schreiber’s argument, saying his filing confirmed he was still among the living.

The appeals court affirmed that ruling Wednesday, saying: “Schreiber is either alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot.”


Ames police arrest man suspected of fatal stabbing

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Ames police say they’ve arrested a man suspected of fatally stabbing his roommate at their apartment.

Officers who responded to the residence around 6:10 p.m. Thursday found the injured man, later identified as 37-year-old Christopher Charles Swalwell, suffering from knife wounds. Police say he was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to a Des Moines hospital, where he died.

Story County court records say 55-year-old David Hunter has been charged with first-degree murder and misdemeanor assault while displaying a dangerous weapon. Police say he threatened another person.

The court records don’t list the name of an attorney who could comment for Hunter.

The records say Hunter told investigators that he was responsible for the man’s injuries.


Allegiant says it will base 2 planes at Des Moines airport

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An airline says it plans to base two planes in Des Moines, bringing jobs and possibly new flights to the city’s airport.

Allegiant Travel Company announced Friday it would base two Airbus A320 aircraft at the Des Moines International Airport. Allegiant, based in the Las Vegas area, said it would invest $50 million in Des Moines and bring at least 66 jobs to the community. It plans to begin hiring pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and other employees.

Allegiant now offers eight non-stop flights from Des Moines to cities in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada.

Allegiant says the new planes and crews create options for more flights from Des Moines but didn’t specify specific locations.

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