Powerful companies, some owned by major donors to Iowa governor, got COVID-19 ‘strike team’ testing help from state


By Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press

via Chicago Tribune - Apr 27, 2021


IOWA CITY, IOWA — When Gov. Kim Reynolds’ administration arranged coronavirus testing at the office of the governor’s biggest campaign donors, it was the first time in weeks and last time ever the state would deploy a testing team to a private business, newly released records show...


... A strike team conducted drive-thru testing for 33 employees at a corporate office for Iowa Select Farms on July 13, the first time in five weeks that such a team had been deployed and the last, according to the department’s data.


Iowa Select is one of the nation’s largest pork producers and owned by Jeff and Deb Hansen, who have given Reynolds roughly $300,000 in campaign donations and enjoyed a close relationship during her time in office. The company has acknowledged reaching out to the governor’s office to request testing for its West Des Moines office and charitable foundation employees after they had potential exposure to an infected person.


The records reveal that one of the first companies that received testing help from a strike team was Lynch Livestock, whose owner Gary Lynch has given more than $85,000 to Reynolds’ campaign and once purchased an afternoon with Reynolds at a 2019 Hansen family charitable auction. Forty-nine employees at Lynch Livestock, a pork company based in Waucoma, were tested April 22, the records show.


The same week, a strike team tested 855 workers at a Wright County pork processing facility owned by the Prestage family, which has given tens of thousands of dollars to Reynolds. In early May, a team tested 244 employees at Stine Seed in Adel...