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- Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, said her potential Democratic challenger in 2022 wants to abolish law enforcement.
- State Rep. Christina Bohannan, D-Iowa City, donated in 2019 to the Prairielands Freedom Fund, which wants to abolish imprisoning immigrants entering the United States illegally.
- However, Bohannan said she did not know the organization’s mission when she donated in support of a friend’s birthday, and has made statements on the Iowa House floor in support of law enforcement.
Campaigning has already begun in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, which freshman Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, won by six votes in 2020. As the 2022 election season is ramping up, Miller-Meeks shared a statement about her challenger, state Rep. Christina Bohannan, D-Iowa City, claiming Bohannan supports abolishing law enforcement.
"I support law enforcement. My opponent wants to abolish them," Miller-Meeks tweeted on Sept. 8.
PolitiFact looked into this statement to see if the Democratic congressional-hopeful favors abolishing the police, based on the information Miller-Meeks provided and Bohannan’s record as a state legislator.
Miller-Meeks cited a piece by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative outlet, in her tweet.
The Prairielands Freedom Fund provides bond and bail to free immigrants from detention, their website states. Organization leaders support abolishing detention and prison. The group’s website focuses on immigration but says it started to pay pretrial bonds in 2020 for protesters in the aftermath of George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s deaths at the hands of police officers.
Groups have increasingly organized these types of payments because of concerns that poor people are routinely held for long detentions before being found guilty of a crime, while people with means quickly pay their way out.
In an interview with PolitiFact, Miller-Meeks said she believes where someone gives their money shows an insight to who they are as a person.
"When you contribute to organizations like that you’re supporting the underlying philosophies," she said.
Bohannan told PolitiFact, however, that she did not know the mission of the Prairielands Freedom Fund when she donated, and that she donated to support a friend’s birthday fundraiser. She commented, though, on the fund’s Facebook post, "Great idea for a fundraiser. I was glad to contribute — thanks for organizing it." The Bohannan campaign told PolitiFact Bohannan gave $60.
"I do not support abolishing the police. I never have, I never will," Bohannan said in a PolitiFact Iowa interview. "As a law professor for over two decades, I have dedicated my career to standing up for the rule of law, and I do not support abolishing law enforcement."
In an Iowa House Debate on Senate File 342 — which ultimately passed into law, increasing penalties for protestors — Bohannan said she would be a no vote because the bill would undermine public trust for law enforcement when it needed to be rebuilt, subject young people and other protesters to harm, and prevent local enforcement from exercising discretion in how to respond.
"I do support law enforcement and I will be a no on this bill, because I also support other things, including the right to protest for racial justice and for other issues," Bohannan said in debate. "And I really think this bill unnecessarily pits law enforcement against groups like Black Lives Matter and other protesters just at a time when we need to be bringing all of these groups together."
In her statement she said she supported some elements of the bill that provided benefits and sick leave to law enforcement, but that those measures were combined with other sections she said were problematic.
Bohannan also co-authored a Press Citizen opinion column with Iowa City Councilor Janice Weiner criticizing Republicans for limiting local discretion for law enforcement.
"A local government found in violation would be denied state funds for the next fiscal year. In other words, the bill effectively defunds both law enforcement and municipal operations for exercising discretion they have always had," the piece reads.
Miller-Meeks said Bohannan wants to abolish law enforcement. She supports her statement with The Washington Free Beacon article and her explanation that where someone puts their money reflects their values. The donation, however, was to a bail and bond project, not a law enforcement abolishment plan.
Bohannan has made statements on the Iowa House floor and in an op-ed, saying she supports law enforcement, which PolitiFact finds to be more relevant than the 2019 Facebook donation to the Prairielands Freedom Fund.
For these reasons, we rate the claim that Bohannan supports abolishing law enforcement False.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks tweet, Sept. 8, 2021
The Washington Free Beacon, "Swing-District Iowa Dem Donated To Bail Out Illegal Immigrants," Sept. 8, 2021
Facebook, Veronica’s Birthday Fundraiser to Reunite Families, July 25, 2019
Prairielands Freedom Fund website
Prairielands Freedom Fund tweet, July 4, 2020
PolitiFact Iowa Interview with Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Sept. 9, 2021
PolitiFact Iowa Interview with Christina Bohannan interview Sept. 13, 2021
Iowa Legislature, Senate File 342
Iowa Legislature, April 14, 2021 debate, Bohannan’s comments, 6:00 to 6:06 p.m.
Iowa City Press Citizen, "Bohannan, Weiner: ‘Back the Blue’ bill takes away rights and makes Iowans less safe," April 14, 2021
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