Iowa Congressional 4Q fundraising news roundup

Yesterday was the deadline for Congressional candidates to file financial reports on the fourth quarter of 2011. Details on fundraising by all the incumbents and challengers in Iowa are after the jump.

As I did last quarter, I’m covering the districts in reverse order, because the most interesting money stories came out of the new fourth and third Congressional districts.  


Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack outraised five-term Representative Steve King again, as she did during the second quarter of 2011. Her latest Federal Election Commission filing shows $392,683.93 in contributions, including $300,728.22 from individuals and $92,715.71 from PACs. Click here for details on all contributions. Notable political donors in the fourth quarter include the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ($4,086.10) and campaign committees for various women in the House Democratic caucus: Debbie Wasserman Schultz ($2,000), Barbara Lee ($1,000), and Jackie Speier ($1,000). Last month the DCCC added Vilsack to its “Red to Blue” list of top-tier challengers.

Vilsack’s campaign reported spending $189,011.13 during the fourth quarter, which seems like a lot a year before the election. Click here for the full report on expenditures. Fundraising appears to have been the largest expense: $27,000 went to Yost Gold Consulting for fundraising consulting, another person received $5,000 for fundraising consulting, and $9,190.98 went to EMILY’s List for “production costs for mailing.” EMILY’s List recognized Vilsack as a “promising candidate” even before she formally announced her campaign last summer.

Vilsack ended the year with $751,530.16 cash on hand, which is far more than any previous challenger to Steve King managed to raise during the entire election cycle.

King has never faced a grueling campaign since winning the GOP nomination in 2002, and his fundraising seems weak for someone with such a large and passionate conservative following. Most politicians raise more money during the fourth quarter than the third quarter, but King’s latest FEC report shows only $204,218.50 raised between October 1 and December 31. During the third quarter his campaign raised nearly twice as much, thanks in part to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie headlining a fundraiser for him in West Des Moines. King’s new filing reports $129,468.50 in donations from individuals, $76,250.00 from PACs and $1,000 from political party committees. Details on all contributions are on this page. I was amused to see that Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign gave King’s campaign $500, obviously hoping for an endorsement that never came. (Ben Lange endorsed Santorum early but hasn’t gotten a dime yet from the presidential candidate for Lange’s Congressional campaign in IA-01.) Several large donations for King were earmarked through the Club for Growth PAC. He also got help from some other House Republicans.

King’s campaign had a very high burn rate during the fourth quarter, spending $152,377.39. The disbursement page lists the usual campaign expenses: salaries, office rent and supplies, payroll taxes, and so on. A few large expenditures make it hard to tell how worried King is about Vilsack. On the one hand, his campaign spent around $20,000 on various fundraising consultants, paid $15,756.12 to the Heartland Marketing Group for marketing and media, and paid The Polling Company $19,310 for surveys. On the other hand, the campaign gave $20,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, listed as “transfer of excess funds.”

King ended the year with $529,490.09 cash on hand. Although he has less money in the bank than Vilsack does, he will still be poised to run a credible district-wide campaign. The new IA-04 spans 39 counties in several major Iowa media markets.


For the third reporting period in a row, nine-term Republican Tom Latham out-raised his opponent, eight-term Democrat Leonard Boswell. Latham raised $344,804.37 during the fourth quarter, just a bit more than his third quarter fundraising haul. When you’re House Speaker John Boehner’s buddy and you chair a House Appropriations subcommittee, the money just pours in. Latham took in $216,600.00 from PACs and only $128,204.37 from individuals. Click here to view all the donors, including a long list of corporate and industry PACs.

Latham’s campaign reported spending $152,107.45 during the fourth quarter. More than $40,000 of that total went to Bogart Associates for fundraiser commissions. Click here for details on Latham’s spending. It looks like he has hired five campaign staffers and several consultants. Latham reported the biggest cash on hand total I can remember seeing for an Iowan in the U.S. House: $1,917,310.64 as of December 31, with an insignificant $30,325.96 in debts.

Boswell’s campaign improved slightly on its third quarter fundraising, reporting $181,807.27 in contributions between October 1 and December 31. As is typical for Boswell, he raised more from PACs ($113,975.53) than he did from individuals ($67,580.17). Details on all the donors are on this page. It doesn’t help Boswell that both Christie Vilsack and Bruce Braley are raising substantial money from central Iowa Democrats. A longtime member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline” program for vulnerable incumbents, Boswell received $1,000 from the DCCC during the fourth quarter and $1,000 from Representative Chris Van Hollen’s Victory Now PAC. Note: Dave Loebsack hauled in more money from the DCCC and leading House Democrats (see below).

Boswell’s campaign reported spending $59,118.69 during the fourth quarter. The FEC filing shows $9,000 paid to Kieloch Consultants for fundraising consulting. I have to wonder whether they are earning their keep. Boswell had $493,782.60 cash on hand as of December 31, which wouldn’t be bad against the Republicans who have challenged him the last few cycles. But now Boswell has to run against a better-funded opponent, and for the first time he’ll need to advertise in the expensive Omaha market.


Fundraising has never been Representative Dave Loebsack’s strong suit. His campaign reported raising $158,236.96 during the fourth quarter, and only $50,028.00 came from individuals. Click here for details on the wide range of PACs (political, labor, business, industry) that gave Loebsack $108,208.96 during this period. Notable political donors during the fourth quarter: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ($7,000), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s PAC to the Future ($7,000), the We the People PAC of DCCC vice chair Allyson Schwartz ($2,000), Friends of Jim Clyburn ($2,000), Chris Van Hollen’s Victory Now PAC ($1,000), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz for Congress ($2,000). The DCCC recently added Loebsack to its “Frontline” program for vulnerable incumbents.

Loebsack’s campaign reported spending $43,877.82 during the fourth quarter, mostly on typical expenses. Kieloch Consulting received three payments totaling $10,500 for fundraising consulting. Again, I have to wonder whether they are earning their keep. Loebsack’s campaign had $450,960.55 cash on hand as of December 31, with no debts.

Three Republicans are actively campaigning against Loebsack. John Archer raised the most money during the third quarter and repeated that feat (barely) by raising $34,908.32 during the fourth quarter, all of it from individuals. Click here for details on the contributors, almost all of whom live in the Quad Cities area. Archer’s campaign reported spending $24,470.69 between October 1 and December 31, leaving $73,388.59 cash on hand, with no debts.

Dan Dolan was his campaign’s only donor during the third quarter. Last quarter he loaned his campaign $75,000 and reported $29,692.42 in donations from individuals (none from the candidate). Dolan’s campaign reported $11,861.98 in spending, leaving $109,103.64 cash on hand at year-end. I noticed that one of Dolan’s larger donors was Mike Whalen, the GOP’s 2006 nominee against Bruce Braley in IA-01.

Tea party candidate Richard Gates reported $535.00 in donations from individuals and $582.08 in spending, leaving his campaign with a negative cash balance of 47.08 as of December 31.


Three-term incumbent Bruce Braley raised $308,851.80 during the fourth quarter, according to his FEC report. About two-thirds of the total ($202,041.22) came from individuals, and almost all of those donations were itemized. Braley took in $106,752.39 from a variety of Democratic, labor, corporate, and industry PACs; click here to view details on the PACs contributions, which include donations from PACs created by Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Leonard Boswell, but not from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Braley’s campaign also transferred $12,900.00 from the Braley Brown Victory Fund, a fund established by Braley and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

Braley’s campaign spent $147,609.28 during the fourth quarter, which seems like a pretty high burn rate the year before the election. Click here to read the details on his spending. Besides the typical campaign expenses (salaries, payroll taxes, catering, travel reimbursements, printing, software licenses, postage, office supplies), a couple of things stand out. Braley’s campaign made five payments totaling $31,413.74 to Link Strategies for “strategic planning consulting services.” I wonder whether those payments cover consulting for much of the 2012 cycle, or whether this year’s FEC filings will show similarly large consulting fees for Jeff Link’s Des Moines-based firm. The Braley campaign also made payments totaling $17,169.79 during the fourth quarter to 4C Partners for fundraising consulting. That’s more than Boswell and Loebsack spent on their fundraising consultants, but Braley raised a lot more money from individual donors.

Braley ended the year with $627,426.33 cash on hand, far more than either of his Republican challengers. Keep in mind, though, that the American Future Fund spent more than a million dollars against Braley in 2010. The group may invest in his district again this year, because American Future Fund leader Nick Ryan has roots in northeast Iowa and worked for Braley’s predecessor, GOP Representative Jim Nussle.

Braley’s 2010 opponent, Ben Lange, leads the money race in this year’s IA-01 primary. Lange’s campaign reported raising $122,793.12 during the fourth quarter. Individuals donated $120,293.12, and The Freedom and Security PAC donated $2,500. That PAC is affiliated with Republican Representative John Kline of Minnesota; Lange spent four years working on Kline’s staff. Lange’s campaign also reported $3,824.88 in money transferred from the 2010 Lange for Congress account. Click here to view all the reported contributions.

Lange’s campaign spent only $6,306.34 during the fourth quarter, leaving $120,311.66 cash on hand as of December 31. However, it looks like $5,000 of the money Lange raised so far is restricted to the general election, meaning his campaign can’t spend it until after the June primary, and then only if Lange is the GOP nominee. Bruce Rastetter, a leading Iowa Republican donor and major financial backer of the American Future Fund in the past, was one of two people to give Lange the maximum allowable contribution ($2,500) for both the primary and general campaigns. Lange’s campaign reported $2,321.00 in debts to the candidate for mileage reimbursements.

The other GOP challenger to Braley is Dubuque businessman Rod Blum, who raised $71,233.40 during the fourth quarter, all from individuals. Of that total, $22,288.40 came from the candidate, and $20,000 came from other Blum family members. Most of the other donors were from the Dubuque or Dyersville areas.

Blum reported $5,168.01 in campaign expenditures during the fourth quarter, leaving $66,065.39 cash on hand as of December 31. However, the four Blum family contributors each donated $2,500 for the primary election and $2,500 for the general election. That means $10,000 of the money Blum has raised so far can’t be spent before the June primary.

To compete against Lange financially, Blum will need to broaden his base of donors or kick in more cash himself.

Final note: Senator Tom Harkin’s TOM PAC donated $2,500 during the fourth quarter to Vilsack, Boswell, Loebsack and Braley.

Any comments about Iowa’s Congressional races are welcome in this thread.  

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  • I have to re-read

    this entire post later today, but I’m already bummed at how the political landscape is less about civic engagement and more about marketing opportunities.

  • What's up?

    Has anybody here noticed the really vitriolic comment in the TIR article about Lange’s fundraising? It came most likely from one Mike Thayer, aka Coralville Courier blog.

    The long diatribe is written in a manner that talks really down to his intended audience. Appears to me the writer thinks the readers’ comprehensional abilities are way below his.

    It smells to me like the writer has a different dog in the fight than Lange and is unhappy that Lange gets treated like an up and coming party star.

    Anyway, anyone know what that’s about?

    Doncha  just love these Republican dinner table intra family squabbles?

    • I had not read through that thread

      so hadn’t seen the comment. The gist is that Lange supposedly violated FEC rules by not declaring himself officially to be a candidate, even though he was already referring to himself as a candidate, distributing signature petitions to qualify for the ballot, and raising a lot of money for the campaign he clearly intended to pursue.

      I rarely read the Coralville Courier and am not familiar with the author or his agenda here. Sounds like a Blum supporter who feels The Iowa Republican leans toward Lange.