In Tonight’s Senate Debate, Senator Ernst Must Finally Come Clean on Her Dark Money Arrangement to Prop Up Her Re-Election

After Senator Joni Ernst spent 10 months ignoring scrutiny for her ongoing dark money ties, a federal court yesterday ordered the FEC to take action on Iowa Values – Ernst’s dark money group set up and run by her top political aides that is actively working to prop up her re-election.

The bombshell ruling was in response to an FEC complaint from the “nonpartisan group Campaign Legal Center” that was filed after an explosive AP investigation unveiled what experts say is illegal coordination between Ernst, her campaign, and Iowa Values.

This comes as Senator Ernst continues to dodge questions about her role in the operation. However, Ernst’s work with Iowa Values has appeared to continue unimpeded – including a shady payroll scheme that experts say may have violated the law, and “highly scrutinized ties” between Ernst’s campaign and the dark money consultant at the center of the illegal arrangement.

Here’s what Iowans are reading today about Ernst’s ongoing dark money coordination:

Iowa Capital Dispatch: Judge orders FEC to act on complaint against nonprofit group associated with Ernst

  • “A district court judge ruled the Federal Election Commission must act on a complaint filed by an election watchdog against a political nonprofit group related to Sen. Joni Ernst’s re-election campaign.”
  • “On Wednesday, District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the FEC to act on the complaint against Iowa Values, a political nonprofit working to re-elect Ernst.”

Iowa Starting Line: Court Orders FEC To Act On Ernst-Aligned Dark Money Group

  • “The group in question is Iowa Values, a tax-exempt 501 (c)(4) that CLC and others have accused of illegally coordinating with Ernst’s reelection campaign by placing ads, releasing statements and soliciting donations in her favor.”
  • A CLC court filing from September references ads supportive of Ernst placed on Google and Facebook by Iowa Values. It also references Claire Holloway Avella, a fundraiser for Ernst’s campaign committee, and the email solicitations she made to a perspective donor on behalf of Iowa Values.”

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Court tells FEC to take action on complaint against dark money group tied to Joni Ernst

  • “A U.S. District Court judge has entered a default judgment against the Federal Election Commission, ordering it to take action on a complaint involving a so-called dark money group tied to Sen. Joni Ernst’s campaign.”
  • “According to a July 2019 email obtained by the Associated Press, an Ernst campaign consultant asked a donor to make a $50,000 contribution to Iowa Values, a political nonprofit backing the incumbent Republican, after Ernst introduced the two.”