After Super PACs and Dark Money Groups Spent Millions Boosting Her 2014 Campaign, Ernst is Relying on Her Own Dark Money Group to Salvage Her Re-election
DES MOINES – 10 years after the Citizens United decision enabled unlimited, secret money to flood our elections, Senator Joni Ernst – who was ranked this month as the third most unpopular Senator in the entire country – is hinging her struggling re-election on the same dark money that launched her political career. Only this time, Senator Ernst and her top political aides are the ones pulling the strings.
Senator Ernst and her aides have set up their own secretly-funded outside group called “Iowa Values” to prop up her re-election. Legal experts told the Associated Press that the arrangement breaks campaign finance law and amounts to illegal coordination between Ernst’s campaign and her dark money group – spurring a slew of complaints from election watchdogs to the FEC.
Senator Ernst is also protecting this broken system in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. As the Center for Responsive Politics recently reported: “During her time in the Senate, Ernst has not endorsed any bills to require disclosure of dark money donors.”
“Facing widespread disapproval from Iowa voters, Senator Ernst and her team are willing to abuse our broken campaign finance system for personal gain, and even break the law to funnel dark money into this race, to save her increasingly vulnerable re-election campaign,” said Jeremy Busch, Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson. “Five years of voting with her party leaders and corporate special interest donors in Washington at the expense of Iowans is taking its toll, and it’s no surprise Senator Ernst is once again banking on a flood of dark money spending to prop up her political career.”