Video: Legislature moves to protect Iowa elections

State Senator Jeff Danielson makes a point in favor of arguing for campaign finance reform at a news conference at the Iowa Statehouse.  Danielson is sponsoring legislation to protect Iowa elections from unfettered corporate spending.

State Senator Jeff Danielson makes a point in favor of arguing for campaign finance reform at a news conference at the Iowa Statehouse. Danielson is sponsoring legislation to protect Iowa elections from unfettered corporate spending.

The Iowa Legislature will move quickly this year to ensure that Iowa voters’ mailboxes and airwaves aren’t filled with a flood of unregulated campaign advertising paid for by big corporations, foreign businesses and shadow organizations, a key legislator said today.

“Now is the time for Republican and Democratic legislators to side with middle-class Iowans in the struggle to ensure Iowa remains a place where all voices can be heard, not just wealthy Iowans and the powerful interests making decisions in corporate board rooms,” said Senator Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls, a member of the Senate’s State Government Committee. “Iowans can be proud of our reputation as a place where elections are about ideas and issues rather than fund raising and attacks ads. This legislation is designed to ensure that Iowa voters—not shadowy special interests —continue to decide who’s elected in our state.”

The legislation is proposed in the wake of Citizens United v. FEC, a U.S. Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates to corporate money in Iowa campaigns. For the first time in modern campaigns, big corporations will now be allowed to spend money from their vast corporate treasuries in connection with Iowa elections.

“Iowa’s reputation for clean, issue-based campaigns is threatened by this Supreme Court decision,” Danielson said. “While honoring the Court’s decision, we are taking this opportunity to strengthen our laws to protect Iowa voters from a flood of anonymous, negative advertisements funded by big corporations. Iowa voters deserve full disclosure.”

Because the court decision removed rules and boundaries on corporate spending, there has been bipartisan opposition to this court decision.

“The only people happy with this decision are the presidents of big corporations, campaign consultants looking for new clients, and Astroturf political groups,” Danielson said. “Iowans do not want corporations to take control of our democracy.”

The goals of Senate Study Bill 3210 include:

• Ensuring Iowans have a clearer picture of how big corporations are raising and spending money on political advertising, promotion 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.

The final version of the legislation is expected to include:

• Requiring additional reporting of receipts and independent expenditures by corporations engaged in independent campaign activities.

• Barring collusion by corporate donors and political candidates. This includes prohibiting them from using the same consultants, advertising firms and other campaign advisors.

• Requiring disclaimers on advertisements paid for by corporations.

• Requiring board, CEO or stockholder approval before a corporation can use funds for independent expenditures.

• Prohibiting foreign-controlled companies from playing any role in Iowa elections.

Danielson and other members of the State Government Committee are working with the Iowa Attorney General’s office and Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board on the legislation.

Here’s a video of the press conference:

Posted Feb. 11th, 2010 at 11:49 am by
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