Issa aide lives high in corn country

Rachel Laing gets snarky

“Chelsea handles the energy portfolio.”
  • “Chelsea handles the energy portfolio.”

Corn-fueled junket

The Midwest farm lobby, trying to counter Donald Trump’s threats to water down federal biofuel mandates, is spending big to make its point to the administration and the Republican Congress. As reported by the Financial Times, Mark Recker, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association traveled to the state fair in Des Moines last month for a meeting with Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, to push for continued use of biofuels, said to consume about 38 percent of the US corn harvest. Another Iowa fairgoer was Chelsea Schull, an aide to Republican congressman Darrell Issa, who gave up his re-election bid early this year as the local electoral climate turned hostile. Schull, Issa’s director of operations, departed Washington for Des Moines on August 13 for a three-day Biofuels and Sustainability Tour. “Chelsea handles the energy portfolio,” says a June 29 pre-junket disclosure signed by Issa.

Rachel Laing: “McGrory’s the king of disastrous ‘figure it out later’ schemes."

Rachel Laing: “McGrory’s the king of disastrous ‘figure it out later’ schemes."

The excursion was paid for by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, bankrolled by the Ames, Iowa Chamber of Commerce; Farm Credit Services of America; the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Kansas Soybean Association; and the Iowa Soybean Association, among other agricultural interests. The Issa aide ran up travel costs of $674.92, a room tab of $346.08, and meal expenses of $137.93, not counting a free dinner at the fair’s Cattlemen’s Beef Headquarters valued at $8. “Attendees will tour state fair exhibits on agriculture and renewable energy to obtain information about new technologies in these industries and to better understand regulatory issues facing the industries,” per an itinerary of the fair visit. A stop at the Knapp Animal Learning Center, showcasing “live births of various species including cows, sows, nanny goats, and ewes,” was also on the agenda. After a night at the Prairie Meadows Hotel, rated the top lodging in Altoona, it was off to Ames for a tour of the Iowa State University BioCentury Research Farm before tucking in for lunch at the Lucky Pig in Ogden.


Gloves are off in the rough-and-tumble high-stakes electoral battle over the future of the city-owned real estate formerly known as the site of Qualcomm Stadium. “I don’t know why San Diegans should take the word of the architect of the pension underfunding and Chargers Ticket Guarantee,” said a tweet last week from Rachel Laing, ex-media handler for Republican former mayor Jerry Sanders. The SoccerCity lobbyist was castigating ex-city manager Jack McGrory for promoting San Diego State’s competing Mission Valley development proposal on November’s ballot. “McGrory’s the king of disastrous ‘figure it out later’ schemes that left SD holding the bag.” Yes on Measure G, a twitter account siding with real estate developer Tom Sudberry and his ally H.G. Fenton Company, responded: “Many, many cities have dealt with pension under-funding and overruns, we are not special. One man is not to blame. I do respect you for cashing those $5,000 checks from Soccercity though. You’ve done great work getting to 35% of the vote! Keep it up!”...District Attorney Summer Stephan has ordered up 21 new iPad Pros for staffers, protected by Urban Armor Gear cases, which the company’s website says “meet military drop-test standards.”...Ex-Sheriff’s deputy Dave Myers, handily defeated by incumbent Bill Gore in June, is back in politics, running for a spot on the La Mesa City Council. “P.S. — Sheriff Gore didn’t fire me — I retired — so that means I can now attend daytime tea gatherings,” says an emailed announcement of his candidacy. “Let me know if you are interested in hosting one!”

Political legalities

Republican City councilman Chris Cate’s brush with scandal in last year’s leak of an internal city memo to a lobbyist working for SoccerCity was accompanied by a cost to his campaign of $29,995 in legal fees for the services of downtown’s Lounsbery Ferguson Altona & Peak, according to campaign finance filings with the city clerk’s office. The Cate campaign also forked over $1089 to the law firm of Democrat Gil Cabrera, a former ethics commission member and onetime city attorney candidate. The criminal defense and civil rights firm of Iredale & Yoo picked up $1000. Among other five-figure expenditures along the campaign trail, Cate’s GOP council ally Lorie Zapf, also seeking re-election, spent $33,999 for the direct mail services of Republican powerhouse Arena Communications of Salt Lake City. The campaign of her Democratic opponent, physician Jen Campbell, laid out $44,917 for the services of Mission Control, Inc., whose clients have included Hillary Clinton, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, and Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland.

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