Iowa Senate: Iowa Senate passes first-in-the-nation reforms to protect elections from unfettered corporate spending
Sen. Jeff Danielson: 319-231-7192
DES MOINES – The Iowa Senate voted today to make Iowa the first state in the nation to protect citizens from unregulated campaign spending by big corporations and shadowy organizations.
Senate File 2354 * was approved by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin, 49 to 1.
The goals of landmark legislation include: ·
Ensuring Iowans have a clearer picture of how big corporations are raising and spending money on political advertising and other campaign activities in our state. ·
Ensuring the integrity and fairness of government decisions and elections in Iowa. ·
Maintaining Iowa’s reputation for having clean, issue-based campaigns.
“We have acted decisively to protect Iowa’s reputation as the best state in the nation when it comes to clean elections,” said Senator Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls, the bill’s chief sponsor and a member of the State Government Committee.
“Republicans and Democrats voted to ensure Iowa remains a place where all voices can be heard, not just the wealthy and the powerful interests who run corporate board rooms.
This legislation is designed to ensure that Iowa voters — not corporate-funded ‘Swift Boat campaigns’—decide who’s elected in our state.” In Citizens United v. FEC , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions have the same political free speech rights as individual citizens.
For the first time in modern campaigns, big corporations can use their vast treasuries to influence Iowa elections.
“Iowa’s reputation for clean, issue-based campaigns was threatened by this U.S. Supreme Court decision,” Danielson said.
“In response, we are strengthening our laws to protect Iowa voters from a flood of anonymous, negative advertisements funded by big corporations. Iowa voters deserve full disclosure. Iowans do not want corporations to take control of our democracy.”
The final version of the legislation includes:
Requiring corporations to file all statements and reports electronically for independent expenditures (on the same schedule as the office or election to which the independent expenditure was directed). ?
Requiring corporations to put “paid for by” statements—including the name and address of the corporation or union, and the name and title of the corporation’s CEO—on all published and electronic communications. ?
Requiring corporations to file a statement with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board within 48 hours of making of an independent expenditure. ?
Barring corporations from using an advertising firm or consultant that has also been used by the candidate, candidate’s committee or ballot issue committee that benefit from the independent expenditure. ?
Requiring the approval of a board of directors (or similar leadership body) before a corporation makes independent expenditures that expressly advocate for or against a candidate.
Finally, a foreign national is prohibited from making an independent expenditure of any kind in Iowa.
Danielson and other members of the State Government Committee worked with the Iowa Attorney General’s office and Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board to shape the legislation.