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Federal Gov. Sues Des Moines & Energy Company

Des Moines, IA - The federal government has filed a lawsuit against the city of Des Moines and MidAmerican Energy Co. claiming a fee the city collects on a VA hospital's bill is actually a tax and violates a constitutional provision against cities taxing federal agencies.

The lawsuit, filed today in federal court says MidAmerican recently sent the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Des Moines a notice to shut off electricity and natural gas unless it pays $8,086 in unpaid fees.

The hospital says in the suit that it considers the fee an illegal tax and will not pay.

The lawsuit says MidAmerican Energy agrees not to disconnect the service until the dispute is resolved.

City Attorney Jeff Lester says he can't comment until he reviews the lawsuit with officials.

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