State and national Republican campaigns have seized on a donation through a Facebook fundraiser to try paint an Iowa City Democrat running to unseat freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks as anti-police.
Democratic state Rep. Christina Bohannan denounced the GOP attacks a "distortions" of her views on policing and immigration.
The Republican Party of Iowa and National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of House Republicans, on Thursday highlighted reporting by conservative news outlet the Washington Free Beacon over a 2019 donation Bohannan made to Prairielands Freedom Fund through a Facebook fundraiser.
The eastern Iowa nonprofit group pays bond and pretrial bail to free people from detention.
"We reject the assumption that imprisonment is necessary or inevitable, affirm the dignity and agency of imprisoned people, and minimize the harm imprisonment inflicts on families and communities," according to the group's website. "We are committed to acting in solidarity with all movements working to abolish the imprisonment of our fellow human beings."
Prairielands Freedom Fund has advocated for the abolition of federal immigration enforcement, calling ICE "xenophobic" and "racist," and lobbied this spring to reduce, or "defund," the University of Iowa campus police force and reallocate funding to social services.
The state lawmaker made the small donation in support of a friend’s birthday, without knowledge of the mission of Prairielands Freedom Fund, and does not represent their mission, according to her campaign.
A spokesperson said Bohannan's record has been clear: She does not support abolishing police, federal law enforcement offices or prisons.
"As a law professor for over two decades, I’ve dedicated my career to standing up for the rule of law," Bohannan said in a statement. "It’s disappointing that some have resorted to mischaracterizing and distorting my positions to score cheap political points. Let me be clear, I do not and have never supported abolishing police or law enforcement."
Bohannan unseated Democratic incumbent Vicki Lensing in the June 2020 primary and was unopposed in November’s general election for the Iowa House District 85 seat.
Last month, Bohannan announced her campaign to unseat Miller-Meeks in southeast Iowa’s competitive swing district.
Miller-Meeks won last year's election for Iowa's open 2nd district U.S. House seat by a mere six votes, the narrowest victory margin in a House race in almost 40 years, after Democrat Rita Hart ended her 2020 election challenge before the U.S. House in March.
Democrat Dave Loebsack previously represented the district for 14 years.