If elected state treasurer, former Republican senator Roby Smith would use the position to prevent the excesses of the federal government and ensure that Iowa taxpayers’ money does not help terrorist organizations, declares his campaign. Democratic incumbent Michael Fitzgerald said he hopes to continue to build on the programs he implemented during his tenure as the nation’s longest-serving state treasurer.
Smith said on his campaign page that the Biden administration is using “unconstitutional measures to spy on ordinary Americans.” If elected, he plans to protect Iowans’ financial privacy. Fitzgerald questioned that goal, saying the Internal Revenue Service has always had the authority to investigate bank accounts showing unusual activity.
“He’s running against Joe Biden…I don’t know anyone who’s had that particular problem,” Fitzgerald said. “We are proud of what we do in the Treasurer’s Office, I can’t control what the US Treasury does.”
The Iowa Capital Dispatch has been trying to contact Smith since June 8. He did not respond to repeated interview requests.
Smith’s campaign says he will resist Israel’s divestment efforts
Smith’s campaign also promises to keep Iowa taxpayer money from going to countries that “harm Americans or support terrorism.” Smith opposes the BSD (boycott/sanctions/divestment) movement and would like to “reject any calls to sever economic ties between the State of Iowa and the people of Israel.”
Fitzgerald remains focused on domestic issues. While overseeing the unclaimed property program, Fitzgerald returned over $322 million in lost items to owners.
“You know who I am when I run,” Fitzgerald said. “I have a triple-A plan. I tell people about my approach to government which is to hire professional staff, do more with less, be efficient and fiscally responsible.
Although Smith’s website does not detail any plans for new programs, he said he will work to improve financial literacy in the state. He also said he plans to raise awareness of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, a federal program that allows families of people with disabilities to have a tax-free savings account. currently administered by Fitzgerald.
With nearly 10 years of experience as a banker, Smith is also a small business owner while serving on the board of directors of US Bank of the Quad Cities area. Representing Davenport and Bettendorf Iowa in the Iowa Senate for 11 years, Smith has defended his involvement in the recent income and retirement tax cuts adopted by the Legislative Body. Smith also serves on the board of the Scott Community College Foundation.
Fitzgerald works for University Savings
Fitzgerald served as president of the National Association of State Treasurers. He is the administrator and creator of the 529 Iowa College Savings Programs, which invest and distribute money to help families save for college expenses without federal and state taxes. Smith’s website says he would also work to publicize this program.
“This is how I help people in Iowa with the enormous cost of going to college,” Fitzgerald said. “I recognized it in the late 1990s. I pushed for this program and it was very popular and it continues to grow. I’m proud of it, I started it, and it’s how we’re helping send our Iowa kids to college.
To promote the 529 program, Fitzgerald’s office held a contest in all 99 counties, offering a $529 scholarship. Over the past 16 years, the Treasurer’s Office has reduced the cost of College Savings Iowa ninefold with more than $7 billion in savings across 280,000 accounts.
“I have a passion to serve Iowans as state treasurer and will continue to promote fair government and safe fiscal strategies,” Fitzgerald said.
Smith defended his record fundraising campaign. In July, Smith’s campaign reported having $286,400 in the bank compared to Fitzgerald’s. nearly $74,000. Smith has raised more money than any candidate for state treasurer in Iowa history, according to his campaign website.
“If you are the state treasurer, you have to watch over the people who depend on these funds for their retirement and also take care of the state for the taxpayers to make sure they are invested and kept safe” , said Fitzgerald. “That’s what I’m focused on, and I’m not going to play favorites with big campaign contributors like the gaming industry.”
Smith received contributions the Elite Casino Resorts Political Action Committee (PAC), but the REALTORS PAC, the Associated Builders and Contractors Iowa PAC and the Iowans for Tax Relief PAC.
“Our message of fiscal responsibility and fiscal responsibility resonates throughout Iowa,” Smith says according to his campaign website. “People everywhere open their hearts and wallets to us and bless our campaign with their time, support and personal investment. I couldn’t be more encouraged.
Fitzgerald said he campaigns by traveling around the state talking to different groups such as the Lions Club or religious organizations to let voters know what his office is doing and its various programs.
Fitzgerald received no contributions from unions or PACS. He collected contributions of $1,000 from 14 people living out of state, including former President Barack Obama. Since the 2018 election, Fitzgerald has also compiled 40 Community Choice Credit Union contributions, ranging from $10 to $26. The fund’s contribution totaled more than $650.
“I’m not sure you want anyone to be accountable for all that big money if you’re the state treasurer,” Fitzgerald said. “You know the state treasurer has to be a fiduciary, which is to watch over Iowa, whether it’s protecting its taxpayers’ money or protecting its IPERs.”