Iowa Dem Warned ‘Farmer From Iowa’ Could Be Judiciary Chair

March 25, 2014 2:43 p.m.

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) warned that if Republicans take control of the Senate the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee could be a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”

Braley’s comments refer to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The comments were reportedly made at a recent fundraiser for trial lawyers in Texas. They were flagged by the Republican-leaning opposition group, America Rising. Braley, an attorney by trade, is running for outgoing Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) Senate seat.

Here’s the full text of Braley’s comments, via the Des Moines Register:

To put this in stark contrast, if you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone’s who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way on the Senate Judiciary Committee or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Because if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Grassley’s biography page on his Senate website lists his occupation as farmer. He received a graduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 1956, according to The Washington Post.

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The New York Times’ Nick Confessore floated that this was Braley’s version of Mitt Romney’s infamous ’47 percent’ comments.

Here’s the response from Grassley’s office:

By the logic expressed on this recording a trial lawyer shouldn’t be involved in policy making about agriculture, or energy, or health care.

Sen. Grassley has served on the Judiciary Committee since he was first elected to the Senate, and he’s got a strong record on the committee. Grassley-authored amendments to the False Claims Act have recovered nearly $40 billion for taxpayers that would otherwise be lost to fraud. He’s the co-author of laws to curb class-action lawsuit abuse and to reform the bankruptcy code. Sen. Grassley is unmatched in his legislative and oversight work to protect whistleblowers, both in and out of government, who speak up about wrong-doing for the public good. He coauthored the Whistleblower Protection Act and numerous updates to laws protecting whistleblowers, including national security and on Wall Street. Sen. Grassley’s work on the Judiciary Committee exposed the illegal gun-trafficking operation known as Operation Fast and Furious. It was Sen. Grassley’s persistence that pressured the current administration to provide Congress with the legal rationale for using drones on American citizens.

Alongside that, Sen. Grassley’s one of only two working family farmers in the United States Senate, where he brings Iowa common sense to work for ag, anti-trust, transportation, environmental, energy, trade, health care, communications, national security, and tax policy that works for all of America.

Watch the video below:

This post was updated.

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