May 23, 2022 - News

At least 8 Iowans banned from traveling to Russia

Seven headshots. Top: Rich Eychaner, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Leon Spies. Bottom: Rep. Ashley Hinson, Rep. Cindy Axne, Sen. Joni Ernst, Rep. Randy Feenstra.

(Left to right) Top: Rich Eychaner; Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks; Leon Spies. Bottom: Rep. Ashley Hinson; Rep. Cindy Axne; Sen. Joni Ernst; Rep. Randy Feenstra. Not pictured: Retired Iowa judge Patrick Grady. Photos courtesy of, Iowa Legislative Services Agency, Rich Eychaner and Leon Spies

At least eight Iowans are among the nearly 1,000 Americans permanently banned from entering Russia, according to a list released Saturday by the country's Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Why it matters: The travel bans are largely symbolic, but they still highlight the downward spiral of Russia-U.S. relations following the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, Reuters reports.

Context: President Joe Biden has been on the list since mid-March, CBS reports.

  • Saturday’s updated list includes Vice President Kamala Harris, more congressional members and the likes of actor Morgan Freeman and billionaire investor George Soros.

Zoom in: Five of the Iowans are part of the state's congressional delegation. The others:

  • Rich Eychaner, a Des Moines-metro entrepreneur and LBGTQ activist.
  • Leon Spies, a longtime criminal defense attorney from Iowa City.
  • Patrick Grady, a retired district court judge.

What they're saying: Eychaner tells Axios his last name is misspelled "Eichener" on the list but that he's confident it's him, asking "how many entrepreneurs and LGBT activists share my name?"

  • Spies tells us that he has previously represented Ukrainian natives. "I guess there goes my summer vacation plans," he joked.

Of note: Sen. Chuck Grassley remains the only Iowa congressional member excluded from the list.


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