DES MOINES, IOWA — State Auditor Rob Sand is calling Governor Reynold’s decision to give back $95 million federal COVID-19 relief funds a ‘partisan stunt’ that cost the state jobs. The money was earmarked for testing students and staff members.

Reynolds revealed she had returned the funds during an appearance on a Fox News opinion show on Thursday evening. Her office says she returned the money earlier this week. She did not mention the decision during her press conference before Iowa media members on Wednesday at the State Capitol.

In her Thursday television appearance, Reynolds accused the Biden administration of not understanding Iowa’s needs and gladly returned the money. Rob Sand released a response to Governor Reynolds on Friday, arguing that the Governor could have found a way to spend that money and create jobs – but instead she gave it back.

Sands full statement follows:

“This makes no sense. Governor Reynolds’ partisan stunt just cost Iowans $95 million.
That money could have created hundreds of strong-paying jobs to administer and assist
in testing at schools, sporting events, graduations, and in contact tracing. Iowans would
have then spent much of the money from those paychecks in businesses and
communities still struggling to recover from the pandemic. All of that would have been
great for Iowans and good for the state’s bottom line.

Turning down the $95 million in federal aid also puts students, teachers, administrators
and other school staff at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

It’s time the Governor stopped playing politics with Iowans’ health and tax dollars.
Remember, this money isn’t free. Iowans will continue to pay taxes, while other states
benefit from them.

Rob Sand, State Auditor