Swing-District Iowa Dem Donated To Bail Out Illegal Immigrants

Christina Bohannan backed radical group working to 'melt ICE,' achieve 'world without police'

Iowa state representative Christina Bohannan
September 8, 2021

Swing-district Democratic congressional candidate Christina Bohannan donated money to pay bail for illegal immigrants through a group that works to achieve a "world without police."

Bohannan in July 2019 said she was "glad to contribute" to Prairielands Freedom Fund through a Facebook fundraiser. Just one month before Bohannan's donation, the group—which also advocates the elimination of prisons—promoted a campaign to "rally for the abolition of Immigration Customs Enforcement" and "melt ICE."

Two years later, Bohannan is setting aside her radical past in an attempt to recast herself as a moderate, bipartisan alternative to Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R., Iowa). The Democrat says she "is running for Congress because she believes we need less bickering in Washington, and more working together." Prior to her campaign announcement, however, the state legislator scrubbed all policy positions from her 2020 campaign site, including sections that condemned Iowa's popular voter ID law and endorsed taxpayer-funded sex change surgeries.

In addition to Prairielands Freedom Fund's campaign to abolish ICE—which it describes as "xenophobic" and "racist"—the group "reject[s] the assumption that imprisonment is necessary," works to "abolish the imprisonment of our fellow human beings," and hopes to achieve a "world without police."

Neither Bohannan nor Prairielands Freedom Fund returned requests for comment.

The group has only grown more radical since Bohannan lent her support. In March, it urged supporters to lobby the University of Iowa not only to defund the college's police department but also to "eliminate police."

"Detention and imprisonment do not keep us safe. In fact, they actively make people and communities less safe … by directly harming individuals and families who then struggle to regain stability," the group's website states. "Our bond fund is not a solution to these problems. The only way to eliminate the harm caused by detention and imprisonment is to abolish them entirely."

Prairielands Freedom Fund used contributions from donors to pay out "roughly $184,000 in bond for protesters jailed throughout the state" in the wake of George Floyd's death, according to its website. In July 2020, the group called for the release of local Iowa man Tremayne Lamar Clemons, who allegedly provided the illegal guns used in a fatal shooting months earlier.

"It is egregious that Treymane has been in custody for so long based on flimsy allegations which stem from a law that is deeply racist and arbitrarily enforced," the group wrote in a statement. Nearly one year after his arrest, a federal judge sentenced Clemons to 30 months in prison for being an unlawful drug user in possession of firearms. 

Bohannan's anti-police activism continued after the Democrat's election to the Iowa House of Representatives in 2020. In an April Little Village op-ed, she condemned a GOP bill that would increase punishments for those who are convicted of rioting, arguing the legislation would "make us both less free and less safe."

Bohannan in 2020 ran to the left of eight-year Democratic incumbent Vicki Lensing in Iowa's deep-blue 85th district, calling for a "more progressive and less defensive attitude in the Iowa House." She went on to defeat Lensing by 32 points in the primary race and did not face a Republican challenger in the general election.

Bohannan is now running to unseat Miller-Meeks in Iowa's competitive Second Congressional District. The Republican defeated her Democratic challenger, former state senator Rita Hart, by just six votes in November. Before Miller-Meeks's election, Democrat Dave Loebsack held the district for 14 years.