Reynolds appoints campaign contributor to judge commission

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Kim Reynolds has named a corporate attorney who has contributed money to her campaign to a state commission that nominates candidates for positions on the Iowa Supreme Court and the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Reynolds on Friday named Dan Huitink to the state judicial nominating commission.

Huitink is a lawyer for Vermeer Corp. in Pella and is a former assistant U.S. attorney.

His appointment was made possible by a bill Reynolds signed Wednesday that gave her the authority to appoint nine members of the 17-member state commission. Lawyers will elect eight. Previously the governor and attorneys each selected eight commission members and the senior justice on the Iowa Supreme Court was the 17th member. The law removes the justice, which means Justice David Wiggins, a Democratic appointee, is taken off the commission.

Democrats have criticized the change, saying Republicans want to stack the courts in their favor after losing recent cases on abortion and same-sex marriage.

State campaign finance records show Huitink contributed to Reynolds' campaign for governor and has given to the Republican Party.

He did not immediately return a message.