Bruce Braley's War on Chickens

Lawyer candidate threatened lawsuit after chicken walked into his yard

Bruce Braley
Bruce Braley / AP

Rep. Bruce Braley (D., Iowa) threatened to sue a homeowners’ association after a chicken crossed onto his vacation home property in Iowa, again raising concerns that the Senate candidate is out-of-touch with farmers in the state, the Iowa Republican reports.

The dispute started this spring after one of his neighbor’s chickens appeared on his vacation property in Holiday Lake, Iowa:

Braley’s wife Carolyn attended a May 8 meeting of the Holiday Lake Owner’s Association to complain about the fowl. The dispute escalated, causing the association to incur nearly $1,700 in legal fees after Braley called the association’s attorney with an implied threat of legal action.

"It’s stupid that it went this far. Any reasonable person would have talked to their neighbor in a reasonable fashion instead," said Bill Nagle, an association board member. "For being brought up on a farm, he sure has lost his rural, farm values."

Pauline Hampton—Braley’s neighbor, a licensed therapist, and a U.S. Air Force veteran—is a registered Democrat. She reportedly used her four chickens to work with children who have mental health and communication problems.

Hampton said she was disappointed with how the Braleys handled the affair:

"It [is] very important the citizens of Iowa know who they would be supporting and voting for to represent their best interests and the interests of farmers, and in [this] particular case, the support of children with mental illness and disabilities. It’s sad this situation is based on something as simple as a chicken at large situation," Hampton told

She’s also upset about the way the Braleys blindsided her with the complaint instead of trying to work it out neighbor-to-neighbor.

"I only found out about the complaint being filed when I went over and offered [the Braleys] a dozen fresh, organic eggs from the chickens," Hampton said. "[Carolyn Braley] refused to take them, stating she had filed a complaint against me. I offer all of my eggs to my neighbors, they are the only ones who have refused."

Republicans have repeatedly accused Braley of neglecting the interests of Iowa farmers, including after comments he made in January at a Texas fundraiser with trial lawyers. Braley called Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school" in remarks at the event.

Published under: Bruce Braley