True to form, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, kept up his sterling reputation as the defender of whistleblowers by pushing back against President Donald Trump’s recent firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.
The role of inspector general was created by Congress to combat waste, fraud and abuse and to be an independent watchdog holding federal agencies accountable to the taxpayer.
Because of that unique role, inspectors general, Grassley rightly points out, are afforded some protections from political attacks — particularly by the officials they might critique. One of those requirements is that before the removal of an inspector general, the president must provide an explanation to Congress.
That didn’t happen in this case, and Grassley wants an explanation.
Similarly, Grassley raised questions last month when Trump fired Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Grassley noted he still has yet to receive a response from the president on that concern.
Still, Grassley deserves credit for his consistency, even when the person he’s calling out happens to be the leader of his own political party.
For decades, Grassley has promoted and defended whistleblowers through legislation and his public statements. President Trump would be wise to listen to Iowa’s elder statesman on this one. After all, as Grassley noted in his letter to the president, those who weed out waste, fraud and abuse are “the ultimate swamp drainers.”
Today marks the last day that voters can request an absentee ballot for the June 2 primary in Iowa — and if it’s not already in the mail, Dubuque County voters will have to hand-deliver the request to the Election Annex at 75 Locust St. in Dubuque. (The county courthouse isn’t open.)
If you already have your absentee ballot in hand, fill it out and mail it in. The primary election is just around the corner.
Voters who missed their chance to vote absentee have another option to avoid going to the polls on Election Day — Ballots are now available for in-person early voting.
Dubuque County voters should drive to the Locust Street Election Annex between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, then call 563-587-3870, ext. 1980. Elections staff will help voters cast their ballots without leaving their vehicles.
Dubuque County elections officials are encouraging voters to cast their ballots by mail because of social-distancing and other requirements prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. You can help protect yourself, others and poll workers by exercising your right to vote — early.
A round of applause for the Dubuque County Food Policy Council and its efforts to get county residents gardening with a communitywide plant day.
Council members put together 1,000 seed kits and made them available for free to families throughout the county interested in growing their own vegetables.
Parsley and lettuce kits were passed out this week, and the group made an effort to truly reach throughout the county with pickup sites in Epworth, Peosta and Farley as well as Dubuque. Special effort was made to connect with Marshallese residents as well.
The gardeners should be visible on social media today with the hashtag #Dbqplantday. Since guidelines call for social distancing, it will be a virtual planting session, and families were asked to snap photos or take videos of themselves planting the seeds and to post them on Facebook.
Now is a great time for connecting with the outdoors, and teaching children about growing plants and vegetables is a tremendous lesson. Thanks to the Dubuque County Food Policy Council for planting the seeds to grow a new generation of gardeners.