Secretive, Out of State Donors Dominate Election in Iowa

New Report Sheds Light on Dark Money Spent in Congressional Races

Iowa PIRG Education Fund

DES MOINES – Over 96% of campaign donations for Iowa’s Congressional races came from out of state funders, according to a report released today by the Iowa Public Interest Research Group (Iowa PIRG). The report, entitled, “Billion Dollar Democracy: The Unprecedented Role of Money in the 2012 Elections,” examined the deep pocket spending by Super PACs and other non-party entities in the 2012 campaign cycle. Results of Iowa PIRG’s study confirm concerns that the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC would open the floodgates to dark, outside money in political campaigns.

“The fact that so much of Iowa’s campaigns’ spending came from groups outside the state is a perversion of the democratic process,” said Kramer McLuckie, Field Associate with Iowa PIRG. “When shadowy, out-of-state donors control the campaign coffers, it warps the relationship between representatives and their constituents.”

The report also revealed a lack of transparency in outside spending. About 37% of the outside spending in Iowa Congressional races came from groups who do not disclose their funders.

“Iowa is the first caucus state in the nation, and we should also be the best in the nation when it comes to campaign finance laws,” said Senator Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls, long time proponent of campaign finance disclosure reforms. “Democracy does not work in the dark, and there is way too much dark money in politics today. A little sunshine will go a long way.”

Other organizations such as the League of Women Voters of Iowa and Move to Amend rallied behind this call for reform at the Capitol today as Iowa PIRG released their findings at a citizen’s lobby event to “Reclaim Democracy.”

Bonnie Pitz, President of the League of Women Voters of Iowa, said, “We believe that the methods of financing political campaigns should ensure the public’s right to know, combat corruption and undue influence, enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office and allow maximum citizen participation in the political process.”

“Next week marks the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision,” said Kramer. “It’s time Iowa joined 11 other states in a resolution demanding our Congressional leaders overturn Citizens United and restore democracy to it’s voters.”