An email shows an Iowa Board of Regents member worked behind the scenes to create a university institute honoring her husband, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
The April 2011 email from then-Iowa State University Provost Elizabeth Hoffman says Ruth Harkin approached university officials a year earlier about creating the Harkin Institute of Public Policy. The university provided the email to The Associated Press in an open records request.
Hoffman's email says Ruth Harkin "wanted it to be very private" until the institute was before the regents. Ruth Harkin abstained from the vote creating the institute, but the email says she wanted the plan to pass before the terms of two allies on the board expired.
The email also says the Harkins were aware of potential ethical problems.