Sen. Harkin to Retire

Citing old age, Senator to retire amid questions of cronyism
Sen. Tom Harkin / AP

Sen. Tom Harkin / AP


Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin will retire from the Senate at the end of his term in January 2015, the Associated Press has reported.

The 73-year-old Harkin told The Associated Press in an interview, “It’s just time to step aside,” noting that by the time he would finish a sixth term, he would be 81.

The AP noted that Harkin has $2.7 million in his campaign war chest and was planning to attend a fundraising event next month.

Harkin has come under scrutiny for his relationship to donors and the political science institute at Iowa State University named after him.

PMX Industries, which manufactures sheet metal and has millions of dollars in contracts with the U.S. Mint, donated to the Harkin Institute of Public Policy. Harkin has advocated shifting from the dollar bill to a dollar coin.

Herbalife, a health and nutritional supplement company, also donated to the institute, but it has also been Harkin’s largest contributor to his campaigns. Sen. Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, wrote the wellness title in Obamacare, and has appeared in promotional material for Herbalife.

The Iowa Board of Regents, on which Harkin’s wife sits and which approved the institute, voted to prohibit any new institutes from being named after active politicians.