Iowa Auditor Rob Sand launches effort to help restaurants hurt COVID-19 and workers who lost their jobs

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Iowa Auditor Rob Sand launched an online effort to help both the state’s beleaguered restaurants and those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

“Local restaurants need customers. Unemployed Iowans need support. You need the feeling of knowing you helped both with one gift,” is how Sand explained the Help Iowans initiative he launched on Monday.

The intent behind the account is charitable, but it’s not a registered charity, so donations are not tax deductible. It was established quickly in response to the obvious needs in the state.

“I set it up this weekend,” Sand said in response to a question on Twitter.

The account is not associated with the Office of the State Auditor, or any organization; it’s a personal effort by Sand.

“This is not public money,” Sand explained in a tweet. “Nor campaign [money]. Nor does it commingle with either.”

In response to another question, Sand tweeted that he is planning to have the accounts audited to assure the public the money is being used for its intended reason.

“Venmo sending is already public for the account,” Sand said.

Sand is currently in his first term as Auditor of the State of Iowa. His office provides “audit, review, and other technical services to state and local governments… [and] is required to annually make a complete audit of the books, records and accounts of every department of state government.”

At her press conference on Monday afternoon, Gov. Kim Reynolds unveiled a grant program for small businesses affected by COVID-19, as well as tax deferrals. Information about both, and the disaster loans available from the U.S. Small Business Administration, can be found on the Iowa Economic Development Agency’s Iowa Business Recovery Assistance page.

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