Interesting piece on the group running anti-Culver ads

Remember that Republican group, Iowa Future Fund, which has been running advertisements against Governor Chet Culver since last summer?

Mrs. Panstreppon alerted me to an article she wrote at TPM Cafe: American Future Fund & Iowa Future Fund, GOP Fronts. You should read the whole thing, but here are some excerpts (the embedded links did not come through--you'll have to click over to TPM Cafe to see those):

American Future Fund (AFF) is running ads in support of Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota) and Iowa Future Fund (IFF)is running ads against Governor Chet Culver (D-Iowa)and there has been speculation in the media as to who is behind AFF and IFF. Paul Kiel at TPM Muckraker posted about AFF and IFF and the Des Moines Register and Minnesota NPR among others have run stories about the two entities.

Last week, Minnesota Democrats filed an FEC complaint against American Future Fund.

I reviewed AFF and IFF documents filed with the Iowa Secretary of State on 8/7/07 and the incorporator is Jessica Young at 98 Alexandria Pike, Ste 53, in Warrenton, VA. That is the address of Holtzman Vogel, a law firm owned by two very influential and well-known Republican operatives, Alex N. Vogel and his wife, Jill Holtzman Vogel.


On 2/7/08, an Eric Peterson filed a fictitious name resolution in order for Iowa Future Fund to do business as "IFF". Peterson listed himself as IFF president, secretary and director but no address or phone number was provided.

Jessica Young as IFF incorporator has the power to appoint directors so I assume she appointed Eric Peterson. But Young isn't talking. I called her at Holtzman Vogel and was referred instead to an attorney named Teresa who told me that it was the firm's policy to keep client matters confidential. When I pointed out that HV seemed to be the client, she refused to comment.[...]

According to Stu Rothenberg at the Rothenberg Report, Republican operatives Ben Ginsberg and Edward T. Tobin III are also involved in IFF and AFF. Ginsberg, former counsel to the Bush-Cheney campaign, is a partner in Patton Boggs's public policy and lobbying group. Tobin, former executive director of the Republican Governors Association, is a partner in Wilmer Hale's fairly new Public Policy and Strategy Group.

David Kochel has acknowledged that he is an IFF advisor but refuses to say anything more. Kochel, a former Iowa Republican Party director, was most recently an advisor to the ill-fated Romney campaign and he advised Lamar Alexander in 2000. Kochel, along with Jennifer Dean, owns JDK Marketing and Public Affairs.

Who is Eric Peterson, Iowa Future Fund president, secretary and director? One guess is that he is Eric Peterson, Summit Farms business manager. A 2007 Iowa State U. grad, Peterson donated $2k to Rudy Giuliani in December as did other Summit Farms employees along with Peterson's employer, wealthy Iowan businessman, Bruce Rastetter.

Bruce Rastetter, a big Republican donor, owns Hawkeye Renewables which owns and operates four ethanol plants in Iowa.


Rastetter himself is politically ambitious and considered running against Senator Tom Harkin this year.


Is Bruce Rastetter, a least in part, funding Iowa Future Fund and American Future Fund? It would certainly suit him politically to do so because he can keep the extent of his financial support of the Republican Party secret. Rastetter seems to be a practical guy in that he just made his first ever contribution to a Democrat, $25k to Gov. Culver. I doubt if Rastetter would want the governor to know he is funding ads criticizing him.

Bleeding Heartland readers, do you know anything more about Eric Peterson or other people behind the Iowa Future Fund?  If so, please put up a comment or e-mail me confidentially: desmoinesdem AT

  • Why would these DC Republican bigwigs pick Culver out of all people to target?

    I understand why they'd be helping Norm Coleman (he needs all the help he can get to get reelected), but why would they be going after Culver out all of the other Democrats?

    • maybe they are worried

      that if he is a successful governor, someday when Grassley retires Culver will get his dad's Senate seat back.

      Or maybe they feel softening up Culver will be key to giving the GOP a chance to regain the legislature in 2010.

    • Good question!

      As I've said before, I'm sure Karl Rove has Alex Vogel on speed dial. Given the heavyweights behind this operation, I doubt that the main purpose is to just run a few negative Culver ads. My guess is that eventually they will try to get Culver thrown out of office. I'm sure you've noticed that the Republicans have been very good at that, e.g. Gray Davis, Don Siegelman, Elliot Spitzer.

      As I understand it, the ads ran only in selected Iowan legislative districts. On the face of it, it would appear that the purpose is to cast Dems in a negative light. Keep in mind that 501(c)(4)s are limited as to the kind of political ads they can run. They have to be targeted at specific legislation, for one.

      BTW, someone at the TPM Muckraker mentioned this post and Bleeding Heartland in a comment today:


  • Iowa Future Fund Update

    The FEC complaint against American Future Fund filed by Minnesota Dems gave this info about AFF:

    Nicole Schlinger, President

    Box 13434

    Des Moines IA 50310


    Nicole Schlinger is a Republican fundraiserand president and owner of Capital Resources Inc dba Campaign headquarters located in Brooklyn Iowa.

    Schlinger was paid approx $250k by the Romney campaign.

    Box 13434 is the address used by Republican lobbyist, Nick Ryan who seems to mostly lobby on behalf of Bruce Rastetter:

    Nick Ryan also ran Jim Nussle's campaign:


    Given Ryan's ties to Bruce Rastetter, there is a darned good chance that Eric Peterson, Iowa Future fund president, is an employee of Rastetter.


  • More on Nick Ryan

    The zip code on the FEC complaint filed against American Future Fund is the same as Nick Ryan's home address, not Nicole Schlinger's.

    A few years ago, Ryan contributed to Jim Nussle and G W Bush as "Nick Ryan". Recently, he made contributions to Norm Coleman, Tom Latham and Rudy Giuliani as "Nicholas Ryan".

    When he contributed to Latham, Ryan listed himself as a Summit Capital Group executive. Summit Capital Group is one of Bruce Rastetter's companies.

    Not much of a stretch to think that Eric Peterson, Summit Farms business manager, is Eric Peterson, Iowa Future Fund president.

    Read the comments here:


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