Dix move: Disgraced ex-Iowa Senate Republican leader quietly gives the GOP his six-figure reelection fund

State Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix. — illustration by Jordan Sellergren

Former Iowa Senate Republican leader Bill Dix’s reelection campaign had collected more than half a million dollars in donations when Dix resigned from the Senate and quit politics in March following Iowa Starting Line’s publication of a video of the married politician kissing a lobbyist in a Des Moines bar. On Tuesday, Ryan Foley of the Associated Press reported that two weeks after Dix resigned, he donated the $522,000 in his reelection fund to the Iowa Republican Party.

As Foley noted, “Under Iowa law, he could have given the money to political and charitable groups, returned it to donors or sent it to the state general fund.”

After the news broke of Dix’s move to shuffle his money to the state party, the Iowa Senate Democratic caucus reminded people on Twitter that its leader, Sen. Janet Petersen, had called on Dix to donate his reelection fund to the state to partially reimburse it for the money the state paid to Kirsten Anderson, a former Senate Republican caucus staffer. Last July, a jury found the Senate Republican caucus’ sexist and racist behavior had created a toxic work environment and that Anderson had been fired in retaliation after filing an official compliant.

The jury awarded Anderson $2.2 million, but she agreed to settle with the state for $1.75 million. That settlement was paid with state funds; the Iowa Senate Republican caucus was not held financially responsible.

In a written statement, then-Senate Majority Leader Dix responded to the jury’s verdict in the Anderson case by saying, “I am disappointed in the verdict announced this afternoon. Kirsten Anderson was terminated only for her poor work product and absolutely no other reason.” In the months after the verdict, Dix flip-flopped multiple times on how the Senate Republican caucus should deal with the problem of sexual harassment.

Since January, the Iowa Republican Party has raised $1.2 million. That amount includes Dix’s $522,000, which makes him the single largest donor to the state party this year.