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Iowa Politics Roundup: Democratic Governors Association Backed Anti-Branstad Group PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 16 July 2010 14:57

A disclosure report filed Thursday with the IRS showed that the 527 organization called Iowans for Responsible Government, which ran attack ads against former Governor Terry Branstad before the primary election, was funded entirely by the Democratic Governors Association.

The DGA gave $782,500 to the group and is also Governor Chet Culver's largest contributor.

"We were right all along," said Branstad campaign manager Jeff Boeyink, who said the group crossed a serious line and needs to be held accountable for its actions. "We have reached a new low in Iowa politics."

Branstad, who won the GOP primary for governor, and his campaign repeatedly criticized the group led by former Iowa Democratic Party Chair Rob Tully as being a "liberal front group" prior to the June 8 election. They demanded to see the donors to the group.

Branstad finally got his "I told you so" moment on Thursday. A press release and Branstad's campaign Web site carried a large headline stating: "Exposed: Iowans for Responsible Government confirmed as Democrat front group."

Conlin Trails Grassley in Campaign Cash Despite Loans

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin, a successful Des Moines trial attorney, loaned her campaign another $250,000 between May 20 and June 30, bringing her total personal contribution to $500,000, according to a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

"She feels she can't ask others to invest in the campaign if she is not willing to invest in it herself," said Paulee Lipsman, a Conlin campaign spokesperson.

The disclosure came the same day that the Cook Political Report moved the race between Conlin and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) from "likely Republican" to "solid Republican," but Cook noted that Conlin's profile and personal wealth make the race worth watching. "This does not mean that there isn't the potential for this race to become more competitive, or that we won't move it in the future," the report said. "It just isn't there now."

The FEC report filed Thursday shows that between May 20 and June 30, Conlin raised $205,720 but spent more than twice that amount -- $472,560 -- and had $851,014 left as of June 30. She also had $500,000 in debts and obligations stemming from the loan to herself.

That puts her far short of Grassley, who raised $575,451, spent $499,822, and had more than $5.7 million left as of June 30 for a campaign warchest that's nearly seven times as large as Conlin's. He had unpaid obligations of $13,216.

National Groupsto Bring Competing Marriage Tours to Iowa

National groups for and against same-sex marriage will be in Iowa in early August in advance of November's election, working with local groups to further their goals in what has become a battleground state for the divisive issue.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM, a group opposed to same-sex marriage) and Freedom to Marry (a group in favor of it) will both be in the state and working with groups such as the Iowa Family Policy Center and One Iowa to get their message to voters.

NOM has scheduled stops at the Capitol in Des Moines on August 1 and in Sioux City on August 3 as part of a tour encompassing 19 states and 23 cities that began Wednesday in Maine and will end August 15 in Washington, D.C.

Freedom to Marry also had its first stop in Maine on Wednesday, and is more or less shadowing the NOM tour.

Freedom to Marry spokesperson Sean Eldridge said that while details are still being worked out, his group will hold multiple events in Iowa around the beginning of August.

Brian Brown, executive director of NOM, said it is clear that Iowa is a battleground state for the issue.

"Iowa is obviously a key state because the people have been robbed of the chance to vote," Brown said. "The courts have imposed their will, and the legislature thus far has denied people the ability to have a constitutional amendment. So we're going to highlight the need to change the legislature, pure and simple. We're going to make sure we get legislators that let the people vote."

Brown said his group's efforts to change the makeup of the Iowa legislature will likely include independent expenditures and issue ads in key races. He also said he expects candidates to participate in the events, although he's not sure who will attend.

To counter NOM's events, One Iowa spokesperson Justin Uebelhor said, his group will be launching its "Stand Proud, Vote Proud" voter-education project with about five stops scheduled across the state. The events will be made public next week, but Uebelhor said One Iowa is planning to launch its campaign at a similar place, date, and time as NOM's appearance at the Capitol on August 1. One Iowa also plans to hold an event in Sioux City on August 3.

"We expect there will be considerable interest from supporters of equality across the state who want to express their contempt for NOM's hateful rhetoric and their support for equality," Uebelhor said. "It's unconscionable for an out-of-state extremist group like the National Organization for Marriage to involve themselves with taking away the freedoms of Iowans."