REPORT: The ‘Fake’ Grassley Tour

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Progress Iowa today released updated, in-depth research detailing Senator Chuck Grassley’s public town hall meetings since 2011. What was discovered is that Senator Grassley has held just 15 open to the public town meetings in 2017, and has not held an open public event as part of his annual 99 county tour in 8 of Iowa’s most populous 10 counties.

According to a statement published by Senator Grassley’s office, there are a variety of formats during his 99 county tour: private question and answer sessions at businesses or organizations, visits to schools, and “open-to-the-public town meetings,” These town meetings are the only format used by Senator Grassley that are open to the public, and are “announced in a news release,” according to that same statement.

Using the criteria created by Senator Grassley’s office, Progress Iowa’s research could identify just fifteen open to the public town meetings held by Senator Grassley this year, that were publicly announced in a news release. In addition to analyzing the news releases sent by the Senator’s office since January 1, 2017 (and dating back through 2011), Progress Iowa reviewed every tweet shared by Senator Grassley in 2017, and every edition of ‘the scoop’ email newsletter published by the Senator.

“The so-called ‘full Grassley’ tour should be called the ‘fake Grassley,’ as the Senator held just fifteen public meetings this year and intentionally avoids hearing from the open public in most of our state’s largest counties,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Our research dates back to 2011, and continues to show that Senator Grassley has not held a public meeting in our state’s largest counties. How can Senator Grassley claim to want transparent government, and ignore nearly half of his constituents for public meetings? Year after year, Senator Grassley reminds us that he visits all ninety nine counties in Iowa. But that claim is hollow without open, public dialogue from constituents all across the state, not just where the Senator chooses his audience.”

Progress Iowa originally released a report detailing Senator Grassley’s public meetings in July of 2016. Key findings from the updated report, which can be found at, include:

Since 2011, Senator Grassley held just 3 public town hall meetings in Iowa’s 10 most populated counties, and held no public meetings in 8 of the 10 most populated counties:

Polk: 0
Linn: 0
Scott: 2 (none since May 2012)
Johnson: 0
Black Hawk: 0
Woodbury: 0
Dubuque: 0
Story: 0
Pottawattamie: 1 (none since August 2011)
Dallas: 0

Senator Grassley has not held a public meeting in Polk, Linn, Johnson, Black Hawk, Woodbury, Dubuque, Story, Dallas, Jasper, or Fayette counties, which comprise more than 40% of Iowa’s total population, according to
Less than half of his 99 county tour meetings are open to the public; in 2016, Senator Grassley has stated he has visited 72 counties, but just 25 of those have been public town meetings

Progress Iowa is hosting the full findings of the report on the new website, which includes additional information and statistics about Senator Grassley’s schedule.


More Information:

Press Releases accessed at listing open to the public town meetings in 2017 (15 in total):

February 10, 2017

April 7, 2017

May 23, 2017

August 14, 2017

October 3, 2017