More questions emerge about Iowa Republican couple's political donations

Kim Schmett and Connie Schmett have filed additional paperwork with the U.S. Department of Justice to report political contributions since their October 2016 registration as foreign agents for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The documents listed the three donations Bleeding Heartland discussed here as well as some previously unknown campaign contributions. While checking those out, I noticed some oddities.

No answer at the Schmetts’ home number, where voice mail is not accepting new messages. Reached on his cell phone on November 20, Kim Schmett told me, “I’m not going to talk about it right now. It speaks for itself.”

Trust me: it doesn’t.

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Kim Schmett didn't disclose political donations while acting for Saudi Arabia

Kim Schmett, one half of an Iowa Republican power couple who were foreign agents for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while serving on influential state boards, made at least three donations to GOP campaigns or entities while registered as a foreign agent in late 2016. There is no record of Schmett disclosing those political contributions, as required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

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New thread on Iowa election results

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that overall turnout in Iowa in 2008 was lower than it was in 2004. That is surprising, given the well-documented surge in new voter registrations.

Which people who participated in 2004 stayed home yesterday, and how did that affect the results?

Tom Harkin won all 99 counties, which is remarkable considering that John McCain beat Barack Obama in 46 or 47 of Iowa’s counties. Even in Republican areas, they’re looking for more in a U.S. senator than trash talk and smackdowns. Does anyone remember whether Chuck Grassley carried all 99 counties in 2004?

(UPDATE: The Daily Kos election scoreboard shows Christopher Reed beating Harkin in Page County in the southwest part of the state and in the four counties in the northwest corner. There may be a mistake on the Des Moines Register’s map, which shows all 99 counties in blue for the Senate race.)

The words “idiot” and “insane person” will be removed from the Iowa Constitution.

Speaking of idiots, Steve King got away with barely campaigning in the fifth district, winning by at least 20 points. Politics can be cruel, and I feel for Rob Hubler, who worked so hard for so long to give fifth district residents a credible candidate.

Nationwide, many Democratic challengers in districts like IA-05 fell far short. Nancy Boyda, a surprise winner from 2006 in KS-02, was a surprise loser last night. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee invested millions of dollars in other similarly Republican districts like MN-06 and AZ-03, and our challengers lost those too.

After beating Kim Schmett by 57 percent to 42 percent (about double his margin of victory in 2006), third district Congressman Leonard Boswell immediately vowed to run for re-election in 2010. Can’t some Democratic heavy-hitters who are on good terms with Boswell encourage him to retire? Barring that, is there anyone willing to start fundraising for a 2010 primary challenge who would have some establishment support?

We may have to run against Tom Latham in a redrawn third district in 2012, and it would be helpful to have a new Democratic incumbent in place before that happens.

Bruce Braley was the incumbent re-elected by the largest margin, 64 percent to 36 percent. I agree with John Deeth that Republican moderates are going to challenge Dave Hartsuch in his 2010 state senate primary.

Dave Loebsack won big in the second district, by 57 percent to 39 percent. The hill in this D+7 district is just too steep for a Republican candidate to climb. Mariannette Miller-Meeks would be better off seeking a different political office in the future, although the Iowa GOP may encourage her to run for Congress again in 2010. Loebsack won’t have the Barack Obama turnout machine cranking in Johnson and Linn counties two years from now.

Iowa Democrats are looking at small net gains in the House and Senate. Dawn Pettengill got away with switching to the GOP after the Iowa Democratic Party worked hard to elect her. A couple of races may have a different result once the absentee and provisional ballots are counted. Deeth has more details.

Jerry Sullivan has not ruled out requesting a recount in House district 59, although it seems unlikely to me that there are enough provisional and absentee ballots outstanding for him to reverse Chris Hagenow’s 141-vote lead (out of more than 16,000 votes cast).

UPDATE: Johnson County voters narrowly approved a controversial bond measure. The proposal was designed to generate

$20 million in a 20-year period to conserve open space.

By collecting taxes for two decades, the Johnson County Conservation Board will have the funds to buy and preserve remnant areas of land scattered throughout the county from willing sellers.

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Enter the Bleeding Heartland election prediction contest

Bumped. Don’t forget to enter by Tuesday morning at 6 am!

I realize I forgot to include a question about how many Iowa counties Obama will win (99 total). If you like, you can reply to your own election prediction with a guess on that too.

If you’ve already submitted a prediction and want to revise it, just reply to your comment with your updated guesses.

I am still trying to decide whether to go with my optimistic or pessimistic scenario and will post my final prediction on Monday night.

There are no tangible prizes here–only bragging rights for the winners.

Enter if you dare. Try to come up with guesses for all the questions. Before you complain that these questions are tough, look at the Swing State Project prediction contest.

Your vote percentage guesses do not have to add up to 100 percent if you believe that minor-party candidates or write-ins will pick up a few percent of the vote.

1. What percentage of the national popular vote with Barack Obama and John McCain receive?

2. How many electoral votes will Obama and McCain win? (538 total)

3. What percentage of the vote will Obama and McCain win in Iowa?

4. What percentage of the vote will Bruce Braley and Dave Hartsuch receive in the 1st district?

5. What percentage of the vote will Dave Loebsack and Mariannette Miller-Meeks receive in the 2nd district?

6. What percentage of the vote will Leonard Boswell and Kim Schmett receive in the 3rd district?

7. What percentage of the vote will Tom Latham and Becky Greenwald receive in the 4th district?

8. What percentage of the vote will Steve King and Rob Hubler receive in the 5th district?

9. How many seats will the Democrats and Republicans have in the Iowa House after the election (currently 53-47 Dem)?

10. How many seats will the Democrats and Republicans have in the Iowa Senate after the election (currently 30-20 Dem)?

11. Which Congressional race in Iowa will be the closest (in terms of percentage of vote difference between winner and loser)?

12. Which Iowa House or Senate race will be the closest (in terms of percentage of vote difference between winner and loser)?

13. Nationally, which U.S. Senate race will be decided by the narrowest margin (in terms of percentage of the vote difference, not raw votes)?

14. In the presidential race, which state will be decided by the narrowest margin (again, in terms of percentage of the vote)?

The deadline for entering this contest is 6 am on November 4.

Please don’t e-mail me your predictions. Post a comment if you want to enter the contest. If you’re a lurker, this is an ideal time to register for a Bleeding Heartland account so that you can post comments.

UPDATE: Here are my predictions. I went with my optimistic scenario nationally but my more pessimistic scenario for Iowa, having been emotionally scarred by too many disappointing election nights.

1. National popular vote, rounded to the nearest point: Obama 54 percent, McCain 45 percent

2. Electoral college: Obama 353, McCain 185 (Obama wins all Kerry states plus IA, NM, CO, NV, OH, FL, VA and NC)

3. In Iowa, Obama will win 56 percent, McCain 43 percent

4. Braley 62, Hartsuch 38

5. Loebsack 57, Miller-Meeks 40 (I have no doubt that she will overperform McCain in this D+7 district, but it won’t be enough. She should run for the statehouse someday.)

6. Boswell 55, Schmett 45

7. Heartbreaker in the fourth: Latham 51, Greenwald 49. I expect too many independents to split their tickets. That said, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Greenwald win this race on Obama’s coat-tails. I just don’t see that as the most likely outcome.

8. Again, I wouldn’t rule out a surprise victory for Hubler if a lot of Republicans stay home tomorrow, but my prediction is (sadly) going to be King 54, Hubler 46.

9. The Iowa House will have 56 Democrats and 44 Republicans.

10. The Iowa Senate will have 33 Democrats and 17 Republicans.

11. IA-04 will be the closest Congressional race.

12. My gut feeling is that as in 2004, an Iowa House or Senate district not being targeted by either party will turn out to be closer than any of the targeted races. However, I have no idea how to select that kind of district, so I’m going to guess that the House district 81 race between Phyllis Thede and Jamie Van Fossen will be the closest.

13. The closest U.S. Senate race will be in Georgia.

14. North Carolina will be the state decided by the smallest margin in the presidential race (this was tough for me, because I also think Georgia and Missouri will be very close).

SECOND UPDATE: I forgot to predict that Obama will carry 61 of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Also, do great minds think alike? I find very little to disagree with in John Deeth’s prediction post. Meanwhile, Chris Bowers’ final election forecasts for the electoral vote and U.S. Senate are identical to mine. I predicted a slightly bigger net gain for Democrats in the U.S. House than Bowers did, though.

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Obama's prime-time special, Des Moines rally and other events coming up this week

It’s hard to believe that this election is less than a week away. GOTV!

Tuesday, October 28:

KCCI-TV (Channel 8) in Des Moines will broadcast an interview with fifth district Congressional candidate Rob Hubler at 10 p.m. I will update with a link to the station’s website if they make the video available there.

Wednesday, October 29:

Barack Obama has purchased a half-hour of prime-time on CBS and NBC, which will air at 7 pm central time.

Fourth district Congressional candidate Becky Greenwald will run a one-minute ad just before Obama’s special on KCCI and WHO-TV in Des Moines and KIMT and KTTC tv in Mason City. She will preview the contents of that commercial at a 1 pm press conference at her campaign headquarters in Waukee:

“With just one week to Election Day, when voters will tune in to hear Senator Obama’s plans for change, they deserve to know Tom Latham’s real record in Congress of voting more with President Bush than John McCain. He won’t support Barack Obama in Congress,” said Becky Greenwald. “I will work with Barack Obama to make a real difference for the 4th District.”

Rob Hubler will be in studio at KCCI doing a live interview on their Early Morning Show at 6:40 a.m.  Then he will be on the Des Moines Register website for a live chat from 12 noon to 1 p.m.  

Tom Harkin will campaign for Obama in eastern Iowa:


2:30 PM

Senator Harkin to Drop By a Phone Bank

Obama Iowa Campaign for Change Office

819 Avenue G

Fort Madison, Iowa

4:00 PM

Senator Harkin to Drop By a Phone Bank

Obama Iowa Campaign for Change Office

414 N. 3rd Street

Burlington, Iowa

Congressman Leonard Boswell and Republican challenger Kim Schmett will appear jointly on Iowa Public Radio at 10 am.

Chet Culver will headline GOTV events for several legislative candidates:

Marshalltown – 10:30 AM


Marshall County Democratic Headquarters

12 West Main Street

Marshalltown, Iowa

Tama – 11:30 AM


Tama County Democratic Headquarters

128 3rd Street

Tama, Iowa

Davenport – 1:45 PM


Scott County Democratic Headquarters

1706 Brady Street, Suite 206

Davenport, Iowa

Clinton – 3:00 PM


Clinton County Democratic Headquarters

224 22nd Place

Clinton, Iowa

Cedar Rapids – 5:00 PM


Linn County Democratic Headquarters

1229 1st Avenue, Southeast

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Thursday, October 30:

Harkin will campaign for Obama again:

2:15 PM

Senator Harkin to Kick Off a Canvass

Obama Iowa Campaign for Change Office

207 1st Ave. W

Newton, Iowa

5:00 PM

Senator Harkin to Kick Off a Canvass

Obama Iowa Campaign for Change Office

500 Jefferson Street

Waterloo, Iowa

Congressional candidate Becky Greenwald and Doug Thompson, Democratic candidate in Senate district 6, will hold an event with the Campus Democrats of Waldorf College at 5.30pm in the Campus Center at Waldorf College in Forest City. The Campus Center is located on South 8th Street. Please come and bring friends.

Friday, October 31:

Obama will hold a rally in downtown Des Moines:


Western Gateway Park Between 12th St. and 13th St., Grand Ave. and Locust St.  

Gates Open/Media Access: 9:30 AM

Program Begins:  11:30 AM

The event is free and open to the public.  Tickets are NOT required, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged.  To RSVP, please visit Space is available on a first come first serve basis.

Public Entrance: Walnut St. and 12th St.

Parking is limited; car pooling and public transportation are recommended.  The free Downtown Shuttle will be available from any of the Des Moines parking facilities. More information is available at…

Rob Hubler will be on Iowa Public Radio at 12:35 pm, which is aired statewide on all NPR affiliates.

From Polk County Democrats:

Pollwatcher and Precinct Reporter Training for Election Day, Friday, October 31st at 6:00 PM at the Campaign for Change, 1408 Locust, Des Moines. With Special guests Secretary of State Michael Mauro and Congressman Leonard Boswell, who will auction off a surprise item.

The Tallgrass Bioneers Conference begins in Grinnell and runs through November 2:

Are you tired of partisan bickering over banker bail-outs, expensive wardrobes, and Joe the plumber?  Ready for a breather before election day and a respite from economic doom and gloom?

Why not take a break this weekend, enjoy the fall weather, get together with friends and come to Grinnell for the 2008 Tallgrass Bioneers Conference. We won’t be hearing politicians promises – just hearing from some great local and national speakers who have gotten past all of

the talk to make a real difference in their communities and the world.

The conference starts on Friday, October 31st and runs through Sunday. Friday features a keynote address by Chad Pregracke, a young guy who

has dedicated his life to cleaning up his beloved Mississippi river, and has lead others to adopt their own local waterways. Friday afternoon features an opening of still/LIFE – an amazing art

installation by Dallas environmental artist Tracy Hicks sponsored by the Faulconer Gallery.  Friday also features live workshops on community renewable energy projects, immigration and local water quality efforts. In the Harris Cinema, we will be showing pre-recorded presentations from the national Bioneers conference, including Ray

Anderson and Alexandra Cousteau.

Saturday features a walking tour of a restored prairie, a tour of Iowa’s first LEED gold certified “green building”, a discussion on

climate and adaptation by survivors of Katrina and the Cedar Rapids floods, a hands-on workshop with Tracy Hicks, and more.  Pre-recorded speakers include Janine Benyus, Bill McKibben and David Orr. Our Saturday keynote is by Alison Gannett – a world champion skier and climate change activist who has converted the world’s first 100mpg

solar SUV hybrid and built the first straw-bale home in a national historic district. The day will be topped off by a local food banquet prepared by Chef Kamal Hammouda of the Phoenix Cafe,  and a dinner speech by organic dairy farmer Francis Thicke.

Sunday, we round out the weekend with a lake clean-up at Rock Creek Lake, a tour of a local sustainably operated farm, historic walking

tour, an intergenerational art workshop,  pre-recorded presentations by Naomi Klein, Rebecca Moore,  Rick Reed and more.

It’s going to be a great weekend of big picture ideas and hands-on experiences, so please join us!

For more information, please visit:…

(a link to google map and driving directions is at the top of the page)

To pre-register, visit:…

Complete schedule:…

October 31 is the deadline for early-bird registration for the Center on Sustainable Commmunities’ ‘Building a Sustainable Iowa’ workshop being held in Cedar Falls, Ankeny & Fairfield on November 10-15. This course is recognized by the building community as the most comprehensive residential green building training course offered in the state! COSC’s 4th Bi-annual Building a Sustainable Iowa Professional Training workshop will be held the week of November 10th through 15th in Cedar Falls, Ankeny and Fairfield. Each location will host the two day course with Marc Richmond, a nationally recognized green building consultant and educator, as the main presenter. We also bring in local experts as guest speakers. A two-hour homeowner class followed by an exhibit and networking social will be held at each site as well. Registration and agenda details available at Scholarships are available through the Iowa Department of Economic Development! Click here for an application. There are only 16 available, so apply now!

Saturday, November 1:

If you’re not attending the Tallgrass Bioneers conference, volunteer for Democratic candidates, wherever you are!

Tom Harkin kicks off his Get Out the Vote Bus Tour. Go here to RSVP for any of these events:

The Cardinal Room

Iowa State Memorial Union

2229 Lincoln Way

Ames, Iowa, 50014

8:45 AM – 9:45 AM

Moos Lodge

200 East 5th Street

Carroll, Iowa, 51401

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Campaign for Change HQ

805 Flindt Drive, Suite 2

Storm Lake, Iowa, 50588

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Fort Dodge Public Library

424 Central Avenue

Fort Dodge, Iowa, 50501

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM

Berte’s Back Nine

216 East State Street

Algona, Iowa, 50511

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Chicago Dawg Restaurant

687 South Taft Avenue

Mason City, Iowa, 50401

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

For more information on these great events please call the campaign HQ at 515-277-9966 or email Alissa brammer at

Sunday, November 2:

It’s the second day of Harkin’s bus tour. Go here to RSVP for any of these events:

Jameson’s Irish Pub

310 East 4th Street

Waterloo, Iowa, 50703

11:45 – 12:45 PM

Labor Temple

1610 Garfield Avenue

Dubuque, Iowa, 52001

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Clinton Community College Auditorium

1000 Lincoln Boulevard

Clinton, Iowa, 52732

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

United Steelworkers Local 105

830 Devils Glenn Road

Bettendorf, Iowa, 52722

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Machinist Local 831

222 Prospect Place

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 52404

7:45 – 8:45 PM

For more information on these great events please call the campaign HQ at 515-277-9966 or email Alissa brammer at

Monday, November 3:

It’s the last day of Harkin’s bus tour. Go here to RSVP for any of these events:


118 East College Street

Iowa City, Iowa, 52240

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Port of Burlington

400 North Front Street

Burlington, Iowa, 52601

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM


1305 East Mary Street

Ottumwa, Iowa, 52501

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

UAW Hall

411 Iowa Avenue W

Marshalltown, Iowa, 50158

5:15 PM – 6:15 PM

Campaign for Change Office (Chet Culver and Leonard Boswell will also be at this event)

1408 Locust Street

Des Moines, IA, 50309

9:00 PM – 10:15 PM

For more information on these great events please call the campaign HQ at 515-277-9966 or email Alissa brammer at


“The global climate is changing. We know that humans are responsible for a large portion of that change, which will have implications for Iowa.”

That is the central theme of a public forum set for Kirkwood Community College Monday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. Kirkwood and several other colleges and community groups will host a “Connections” program in Ballantyne Auditorium on the main Kirkwood campus.

The free forum will feature Dr. Jerald Schnoor of The University of Iowa, speaking on “Mitigating and Responding to Climate Change in Iowa.”  Schnoor is the Allen S. Henry Chair and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and co-director of the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

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Overview of 3Q FEC filings for U.S. House candidates in Iowa (updated)

Congressional candidates’ third-quarter campaign finance reports were due today (October 15), so I went over to the Federal Election Commission site to see how things stand.

For some reason, I was unable to find reports for Senator Tom Harkin or his opponent, Christopher Reed. I will cover their FEC filings in a separate post when data become available. UPDATE: The National Journal’s Hotline blog published the basic information from all Senate candidates’ FEC filings.

Tom Harkin had total receipts of $635,915 during 3Q, spent $495,136, and had $3,956,998 cash on hand as of September 30.

Christopher Reed had total receipts of $34,956 during 3Q, spent $13,156, and had $22,092 cash on hand left.

All of the incumbents have large cash-on-hand advantages over their opponents going into the final stretch of the campaign.

Bruce Braley (D, IA-01) has given generously to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: $25,000 in July and another $50,000 at the end of August.

I could not find any donations from Dave Loebsack (D, IA-02) to the DCCC. I hope someone from his staff will correct me if I am wrong. He certainly can afford to donate to the DCCC, running in a D+7 district in what looks like a very strong year for Iowa Democrats. On the other hand, the DCCC did nothing to help him two years ago when he was running against Jim Leach, so maybe he is less inclined to support the committee’s efforts.

I also could not find any record of donations from Leonard Boswell (D, IA-03) to the DCCC. Again, I hope someone will correct me if I am wrong. But if this is correct, it’s a disgrace for Boswell. The DCCC has spent heavily on Boswell’s behalf in several previous election cycles. The least he could do would be to help them support other Democratic candidates.

Iowa’s two Democratic challengers had very strong fundraising quarters. Becky Greenwald out-raised Tom Latham during the reporting period, which is phenomenal. However, she spent more than she raised, leaving her with relatively little cash on hand. The DCCC has added her to its Red to Blue list, so she presumably will be getting some help from them as well as from EMILY’s list, which endorsed her last month. She will need that help in order to stay on tv for the remainder of the campaign.

Considering that the fifth district is not widely acknowledged to be up for grabs, Rob Hubler’s haul for the quarter is impressive. No wonder the DCCC put him on the Emerging Races list. He went up on the radio last week and presumably will be able to stay on the radio for the duration of the campaign. It’s not clear whether he will have enough money for tv ads before election day. Steve King just went up on tv today and only went up on the radio a day or two earlier. I’m surprised King waited so long. Latham has been advertising heavily on television for the past few weeks and put up his first radio ad during the summer.

Here is the basic information from the candidates’ FEC filings. Click the links to access the full reports.


Bruce Braley: $184,854.12 raised during 3Q, $107,099.90 spent, $402,586.60 cash on hand

Dave Hartsuch: $25,163.00 raised during 3Q, $30,447.28 spent, $7,391.01 cash on hand


Dave Loebsack: $110,442.10 raised during 3Q, $116,561.03 spent, $456,656.96 cash on hand

Mariannette Miller-Meeks has not yet filed her report; I will update with that when available. Her report for the second quarter is here. UPDATE: She reported $108,599.26 raised during 3Q, $61,944.50 spent, $83,274.27 cash on hand


Leonard Boswell: $133,045.34 raised during 3Q, $198,211.79 spent, $325,757.93 cash on hand

Kim Schmett: $56,294.35 raised during 3Q, $61,306.22 spent, $23,537.30 cash on hand

Note: According to his 3Q filing, Ed Fallon has paid off most of his debt from the third district primary against Boswell.


Becky Greenwald: $308,452.01 raised during 3Q, $354,422.07 spent, $24,476.99 cash on hand

Tom Latham: $290,815.32 raised during 3Q, $269,858.03 spent, $774,671.45 cash on hand


Rob Hubler: $95,235.42 raised during 3Q, $56,168.81 spent, $64,654.06 cash on hand

Steve King: $191,689.27 raised during 3Q, $91,993.28 spent, $351,239.55 cash on hand

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