Iowa state senator wants every political contribution to be disclosed publicly

Report: More than 96 percent of funds raised by Iowa campaigns came from outside state

March 28, 2014 | 10:11 am

An Iowa state senator says he’ll reintroduce legislation this year that would force disclosure for every person, organization and corporation that contributes to political campaigns.

Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Cedar Falls, said he’ll push three bills:

  • A resolution that the General Assembly supports the repeal of Citizen’s United, a U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibited limitations on independent expenditures.
  • A bill that requires full disclosure in campaigns.
  • A measure that sets up a mechanism for public financing of political campaigns.

The Senate passed Danielson’s campaign disclosure bill last year, but it was never picked up in the House.

Danielson was joined by Senate President Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, at a Statehouse rally Wednesday that included members from the League of Women Voters, Iowa Public Interest Research Group and Iowa Move to Amend, which supports a U.S. constitutional amendment to withhold constitutional rights from corporations.

“The poor man’s soap box should have as much clout as the corporate checkbook,” Jochum said.

According to PIRG field associate Karmer McLuckie, the 2012 election was the most expensive in history.

Data collected by the group showed that 96.21 percent of the money spent on Iowa House races came from groups registered outside the state. Those groups spent $8.3 million, and 36.6 percent of those dollars came from undisclosed donors.

“We are the first-in-the-nation caucus state,” Danielson said. “We should be the best-in-the-nation state for campaign finance laws.”

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