Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds made a last-minute schedule change this week, cancelling a trip to New York for a series of Iowa economic development meetings in order to attend a private fundraiser Tuesday in Rhode Island hosted by a Republican activist and conspiracy theorist, according to an Associated Press report.
The activist, Russell Taub, posted a photo of himself with Reynolds on Facebook along with the message, “Happy to host Governor of Iowa Kim Reynolds.”
Taub’s Facebook page also posted a conspiracy theory about the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. The post, which included photos of one of the survivors being interviewed after the shooting and in California the previous year, suggested the student was a crisis actor who didn’t actually attend the school, a popular conspiracy theory that emerged among the gun-rights fringe. “The media is scamming us once more if this is legitimate?” Taub had posted.
That same day, Reynolds’ office had sent out a press release updating the governor’s public schedule, saying she would no longer attend travel to New York for the economic development meetings, which were scheduled to begin on Wednesday. Instead, the release said, acting Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg would go in her place, while the “governor will stay in Des Moines to work with House and Senate leaders on tax reform and other legislative issues.”
Taub has given more than $211,000 to Republican candidates and organizations since 2016, according to an AP review of Federal Election Commission records. That included $5,400 to Sen. Joni Ernst, whom Taub called “one of my favorite leaders” in 2015.