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Polk County supervisors play favorites with grant money

Bert Dalmer of the Des Moines Register has written about a grant program in Polk County, Iowa that "smacks of vote-buying, according to one government watchdog group...The money - $1.5 million, given from the beginning of 2004 to the present -- originates from gambling profits at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona." Regulations controlling how the money is doled out are scant, leaving discretion up to five county supervisors. "A Des Moines Register analysis of the handouts shows that the money has gone to labor unions, business groups, school fundraisers, after-prom parties, veterans' social halls, recreational clubs and other causes that are selected by each supervisor. Some programs for low-income housing, disaster training, child care and fire safety, meanwhile, have been turned down for cash."

You can see a complete list of the Polk County community betterment grants - including recipient, amount, year and sponsor - here.

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