Emblazoned with “Corporate Special Interests,” Washington Wilbur Will Travel Across Iowa in Election Home Stretch

To set the stage for tonight’s first U.S. Senate debate, the Iowa Democratic Party raised the curtain on Washington Wilbur – a 5-foot tall embodiment of Senator Joni Ernst’s broken promise to “make ’em squeal” in Washington.

Senator Ernst promised Iowans that she would clean up Washington – but after her six years of corporate special interest handouts, the pig sty of political corruption is even worse than when she arrived. Time and again, Ernst has voted for billion-dollar tax breaks for the same corporate interests spending big to prop up her re-election campaign:

Wall Street

  • Contributions to Ernst: Over $2 million

  • What they’ve gotten from Ernst: A tax break “windfall” of $26 billion.

Big Oil

  • Contributions to Ernst: $450,000

  • What they’ve gotten from Ernst: $15 billion in tax breaks and a fossil fuel lobbyist in charge of the EPA, whose RFS waivers have gifted them millions more.

Big Pharma and the insurance industry

  • Contributions to Ernst: $600,000

  • What they’ve gotten from Ernst: Ernst has stood in the way of prescription drug price reforms, and voted to let insurance companies discriminate against Iowans with pre-existing conditions.

Corporate PACs

  • Contributions to Ernst: $2 million

  • What they’ve gotten from Ernst: A U.S. Senator who puts them first – even when it hurts Iowans.

Below are excerpts from today’s press conference unveiling Washington Wilbur:

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Mark Smith:

“Ernst went to Washington, mixed our tax dollars in with the slop, and then poured it into the feeding trough. Corrupt, billion-dollar handouts. Huge tax breaks for corporate stock buy-backs. Protecting tax breaks for companies that move Iowa jobs overseas. And she left important reforms that would help Iowans, stuck in the muck. Senator Ernst’s six years in Washington have been an all-you-can-eat pork buffet.”

Iowa State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald:

“It doesn’t take a State Treasurer to see that Senator Ernst’s billion-dollar handouts to corporate special interests haven’t added up for Iowans… The numbers are clear. Senator Ernst didn’t make Washington squeal. She became a part of the problem.”

Iowa State Representative Ruth Ann Gaines:

“In tonight’s U.S. Senate debate, you’ll hear all kinds of lies from Senator Ernst about her harmful record on health care. It’s part of a cover-up she’s been pushing for months on end. The truth is, Senator Ernst sold out Iowans’ health care to the corporate special interests that are bankrolling her campaign.”