Swing-district Democratic congressional candidate Christina Bohannan encouraged the University of Iowa community to donate to one nonprofit that bails out violent criminals and another that aims to "dismantle, defund, and abolish the police."
As faculty chairwoman of the University of Iowa law school's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Bohannan penned a letter to students and staff that expressed support for the "outcry against injustice happening … around the nation" in the wake of George Floyd's death. Included in the letter was a call to "support the movement" by funding the Minnesota Freedom Fund and National Bail Out Fund, two radical nonprofits that support defunding police.
Bohannan's June 2020 letter was not the first time the Democrat, who is running to unseat Republican congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks, championed a radical bail fund. One year prior, Bohannan donated money to pay bail for illegal immigrants through Prairielands Freedom Fund, a group that also aims to eliminate prisons, achieve a "world without police," and abolish Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Bohannan's numerous ties to anti-police groups are unlikely to help her standing with local voters: 88 percent of Iowans trust their local police department, according to a September Des Moines Register poll.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund—thanks in part to promotion from Bohannan and Vice President Kamala Harris—raised $35 million as riots swept the nation in the weeks that followed Floyd's death. While the nonprofit pledged to "help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota," just a fraction of the money was used to release protesters and rioters. Instead, the bail fund freed numerous heinous criminals, including an alleged child rapist and an accused domestic abuser who was arrested for murder just weeks after his release.
The National Bail Out Fund, meanwhile, has taken on a number of radical positions regarding law enforcement. The group supports both "prison abolition" and the movement to "dismantle, defund, and abolish the police to protect Black lives"—even as black Americans overwhelmingly oppose reducing police forces in their communities.
Bohannan, who did not return a request for comment, addressed her Prairielands Freedom Fund donation by saying she did not have knowledge of the group's "mission" and has "never supported abolishing police or law enforcement." During a 2020 state house run, however, Bohannan revealed she is "very active" in the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa, a group that has called for abolishing ICE, ending illegal immigrant deportations, and establishing "sanctuary cities."
Bohannan is now attempting to recast herself as a moderate in her campaign against Miller-Meeks. According to the Democrat's campaign site, Bohannan decided to run for Congress "because she believes we need less bickering in Washington, and more working together." But prior to her campaign launch, Bohannan scrubbed her state house campaign page, which included sections that condemned Iowa's voter ID law and backed using taxpayer funds for "gender confirmation surgery for transgender individuals."
Bohannan in 2020 joined the Iowa House of Representatives after she successfully defeated fellow Democrat and eight-year incumbent Vicki Lensing in a primary race. Bohannan ran as a liberal insurgent, promising to adopt a "more progressive and less defensive attitude in the Iowa House."
Bohannan does not have a primary opponent in her bid to challenge Miller-Meeks and is set to face the Republican in 2022.