Iowa House denying press credentials to influential blogger

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Republican-controlled Iowa House defended its decision Friday to deny press credentials to an influential liberal blogger who has covered the Legislature for years, a position that could invite legal action.

Laura Belin, who operates the Bleeding Heartland blog, said the House chief clerk hasn’t cited any valid reason for the denial, which she suspects is tied to her critical coverage of Republican leaders and policies. Belin, who has reported on the Legislature since 2007, has appealed the decision and is considering legal action.

Belin applied for formal credentials for the first time to cover this session, which would grant her work space and easier access to briefings with key lawmakers, among other things. Staff in the Republican-controlled Iowa Senate indicated that her request would be granted for that chamber. But Carmine Boal, the chief clerk of the Iowa House, told Belin in a Jan. 3 email that “press credentials are not issued to members of the public.” (Read more…)