Pate is told:
No politics in office

The Senate Appropriations Committee moved Tuesday to curb activities that some members view as excessive politicization of the Iowa secretary of state's office by its current occupant, Paul Pate.

The panel voted 13-11 to approve an amendment that would prohibit Pate's office from using public funds to mobilize public opinion on issues not directly related to his office.

Sen. Tom Flynn, D-Dubuque, offered the amendment in response to a document called "Fast Fax Legislative Briefing," which was sent by fax from Pate's office to small business owners around the state. Among other things, the fax urges recipients to contact their senators regarding a workplace drug testing bill. There is substantial opposition to the bill," Pate's message said.

The Iowa House voted Feb. 27 to approve a bill expanding the rights of employers to test workers for drug use. The measure appears to be mired in the Senate.

Flynn called "blatant excess" Pate's use of his office staff and equipment to lobby on such issues.

Pate, who has expressed interest in running for governor in 1998, couldn't be reached after the vote for comment. John Gilliland, a Pate aide, said the faxed legislative reports go to a few hundred business owners around the state who are involved with the state-sponsored "Jobs Coalition for Main Street Iowa." Gilliland said Gov. Terry Branstad appointed Pate as chairman of the coalition, which is an advocate for small businesses.

"This is just fulfillment of that mission," Gilliland said.

Des Moines Register, March 27, 1997, 5M