As Senator Joni Ernst’s account of her political career hits book markets today, this week the Iowa Democratic Party will publish purposefully omitted chapters to set the story straight on how Ernst’s political launch was born out of putting the priorities of her special interest backers above the needs of Iowans.
Today, with the book’s launch, the IDP is publishing the missing chapter on how Senator Ernst’s lackluster 2014 primary campaign found its dark-money legs: “The Koch Brothers Conference That Launched It All.”
Detailed extensively by Politico, Senator Ernst’s campaign for U.S. Senate was originally a nonstarter: unknown to 90% of voters and against better positioned primary opponents. That was, until oil tycoons Charles and David Koch gave a surprising invite to Ernst to their summer conference in an effort to “identify, cultivate and finance” candidates who would do their bidding in Washington.
At the conference, Senator Ernst “won over” the Kochs and their billionaire dark-money donors, coming with “hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of television ads funded by undisclosed donors and tens of thousands of dollars in direct campaign contributions” – launching Ernst to the U.S. Senate.
While Senator Ernst omitted the Koch conference from her book, the brothers’ support has coincided with a career of voting in their interests. From voting to confirm anti-ethanol directors of the EPA, to handing out wasteful tax giveaways to billionaires and Big Oil, to Ernst even taking on the Koch’s tactics of abusing campaign finance laws through allegedly illegal dark money arrangements, Senator Ernst’s Koch-backed Washington portfolio has left hardworking Iowans paying the bills and struggling to scrape by.