Iowa Congressional fundraising 1Q news roundup (updated)

April 15 was the deadline for Congressional candidates to file reports on their fundraising and expenditures for the first quarter of 2013. Details on all of the Iowa incumbents and some other declared candidates are after the jump. At this writing, not every report has been posted on the Federal Elections Commission website. I will update this post as more information becomes available.

U.S. Senate

For reasons I don’t understand, campaign finance reports from U.S. Senate candidates are not posted on the FEC’s website. Bruce Braley’s campaign released a four-page summary yesterday. Braley transferred $179,000 from his U.S. House re-election campaign (Braley for Congress) to his Senate campaign (Braley for Iowa). In addition, Braley for Iowa raised $682,980 from individuals and $173,895.92 from political action committees (PACs). The campaign did not report any contributions from the candidate or from political party committees.

I am seeking a copy of Braley’s FEC filing so that I can see the full list of individual and PAC donations. At this writing, the Braley campaign has not made that document available. A press release on April 15 noted, “the campaign has received contributions from donors in all 99 counties in the state of Iowa.”

Braley for Iowa reported $31,269.28 in operating expenditures during the first quarter, leaving $1,004,606.64 cash on hand as of March 31. No question, it’s a solid start for a statewide campaign, though it may be hard for Braley to keep up that fundraising pace in subsequent quarters. I would guess that the “usual suspects” among major Iowa Democratic donors have maxed out already (which is one reason I would like to view the full FEC filing).

LATE UPDATE: Braley’s full report for the first quarter is here (very large pdf). Itemized individual donations take up nearly 500 pages of that document. Several dozen donors have already “maxed out” with contributions totaling $5,200, and a few dozen others have given the maximum contribution of $2,600 for a primary campaign. That said, I do not believe Braley is anywhere close to depleting the pool of major Iowa Democratic donors, not to mention trial attorneys living in other states (a source of many large campaign gifts so far). A large number of donors have given between $250 and $1,000 already, and I would expect many of those to give again before the 2014 election.

The list of PAC donors to Braley for Iowa in the first quarter runs from pages 497 to 517. It’s a typical mix for a Democratic candidate, representing corporations, labor unions, and some progressive advocacy groups.

Braley’s cash on hand won’t intimidate any well-connected potential GOP candidates. Probably a dozen Republicans in this state could raise a million dollars for a U.S. Senate bid quickly. The worrying factor for Republicans is that a competitive primary will likely drain the eventual nominee’s funds, allowing Braley to build a big money lead going into next year’s general election campaign.


Braley for Congress reported raising $214,955 during the first three months of 2013, of which $65,455 came from individuals and $149,500 from PACs. Looking at the list of contributions to Braley’s IA-01 re-election campaign, you can see that all of the donations came on or before February 7, when Braley launched his U.S. Senate bid.

Braley for Congress reported $81,811.86 in operating expenditures during the first quarter. The largest payments were for fundraising and consulting services. After transferring $179,000 to the Braley for Iowa Senate campaign, Braley for Congress had $5,636.30 cash on hand as of March 31.

Pat Murphy for Iowa, the only current Democratic campaign to succeed Braley, declared $68,070 in contributions for the first quarter of 2013. Of that amount, $7,545 came from the candidate, and $60,275 came from other individuals ($40,139 itemized, $20,136 in small gifts that were not itemized). You can view the full list of Murphy donors here. Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal kicked in $250, as did quite a few current and former Iowa House Democrats (John Forbes, Curt Hanson, Roger Thomas, Helen Miller, Andrew Wenthe, Paul Shomshor, Dick Taylor, John Wittneben, Ray Zirkelbach). State Representative Mary Gaskill gave $300, and a few of Murphy’s onetime Iowa House colleagues gave $500 each: State Representatives Mark Smith and Dan Muhlbauer, retired State Representative Polly Bukta, and State Senator Janet Petersen. Former gubernatorial candidate Mike Blouin gave $300. The only PAC donation to Murphy’s Congressional campaign was $250 from the CenturyLink employees’ PAC.

Murphy’s campaign reported spending just $8,202.80 during the first quarter, leaving $59,867.20 cash on hand as of March 31. That’s a fraction of what Murphy would need to raise for a successful campaign, but it’s a head start. I imagine that a lot of the Democratic donors in IA-01 are sitting tight, waiting for the Congressional field to take shape.

Two Republicans have declared their candidacies in IA-01: Steve Rathje and Rod Blum. At this writing I don’t see financial reports from either of them on the FEC’s website. Rathje announced on Twitter that his campaign raised $51,515 between February 20 and March 31.

UPDATE: Rathje reported $51,506.63 in contributions during the first quarter, all from individuals. More than half the money he raised came from six donors who each contributed the maximum $5,200. But only $2,600 from any individual donor can be used during a primary campaign. In other words, $15,600 of what Rathje raised can’t be used unless and until he wins the 2014 Republican primary.

Rathje’s campaign spent $20,423.76, leaving $31,082.87 cash on hand as of March 31. Most of the expenditures went toward consulting, branding, and website design; $4,000 went to the candidate, but it’s not clear what he was being reimbursed for. About half of the Rathje campaign’s cash on hand is restricted for use during a general election campaign (if he wins the Republican primary).

LATE UPDATE: As of April 25, I still cannot find any first quarter financial report from Rod Blum’s campaign on the FEC website. Blum has not responded to my request for comment on whether he filed a report. Perhaps his campaign didn’t raise or spend enough to require a quarterly filing. Seven individual donors are thanked on the front page of his campaign website.

APRIL 25 UPDATE: According to Erin Murphy of the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, Blum’s campaign filed organizing papers with the FEC after the April quarterly reporting deadline. Consequently, his first financial disclosure report will cover the second quarter of 2013.


Four-term Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack has never been a powerhouse fundraiser. The latest filing looks like a typical quarter for him: $104,222.13 in total contributions and $27,288.12 in expenditures, leaving $100,710.79 cash on hand as of March 31. As usual, Loebsack raised a lot more from PACs ($66,250) than from individuals ($37,972.13, of which $19,325 were itemized). You can view all the Loebsack for Congress donors during the first quarter here. I noticed that State Senator Joe Seng donated $250, which presumably means he’s not planning another primary challenge in IA-02. (Loebsack defeated Seng in the 2012 Democratic primary with about 81.5 percent of the vote.) The PAC donors to Loebsack were a mix of corporate and labor groups, plus $2,500 from Senator Tom Harkin’s TOM-PAC.

To my knowledge, no Republican has announced plans to run against Loebsack in 2014. His 2012 opponent, John Archer, filed a termination report for his campaign in January.


Ten-term Republican incumbent Tom Latham showed why it’s good to be an Appropriations subcommittee chairman. With hardly any apparent effort, his campaign raised $300,750 during the first quarter, of which more than 90 percent ($279,000) came from PACs.

Latham’s campaign raised just $21,650 from individuals during the first three months of the year. Your unintentional comedy for the week comes from Jennifer Jacobs’ report for the Des Moines Register.

Only one Iowa resident is listed as a donor – Bruce Kelley, an executive with EMC Insurance – but aides said that’s because Latham was focused on governing and didn’t actively solicit donations in Iowa.

There are three other donations from Iowa addresses, but two are political action committees ($2,000 from Principal Life Insurance Co. PAC and $5,000 from the Rain & Hail Insurance Society PAC), and one is from a county party ($100 from the Humboldt County GOP).

So focused on governing, no time to have staff send a form letter to a mailing list! At least Latham had plenty of time to cash those PAC checks.

Latham’s largest expenditures during the reporting period were $50,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and a little less than that amount to the Republican Party of Iowa’s federal account. His campaign ended the quarter with $284,348.20 cash on hand, an amount that will multiply several times by the fall of 2014. That may be one reason former State Senator Staci Appel just decided not to run against Latham in 2014.

Democrat Mike Sherzan launched a campaign in IA-03 in February but more recently announced that he was quitting the race for health reasons. He actually had a decent fundraising quarter for a first-time candidate. He loaned his own campaign $140,000, and Sherzan for Congress raised another $85,280 from individuals. Sherzan plans to return all campaign contributions to the donors.

The only current Democratic challenger in IA-03, Gabriel De La Cerda, has not raised enough funds yet to file an FEC disclosure report. Bleeding Heartland will discuss De La Cerda’s campaign in an upcoming post.


Six-term incumbent Steve King has been raising money off standing up to Karl Rove and the evil establishment, so I was expecting to see a big haul for his re-election campaign. However, King for Congress reported raising just $78,072 from individuals, $250 from political party committees, and $14,877.45 from PACs during the first quarter. His campaign refunded $6,000 to donors, leaving $87,199.45 in net contributions. King’s campaign reported $84,175.17 in operating expenditures during the period, plus $47,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. King for Congress had $90,148.51 cash on hand as of March 31.

King has previously said the ability to raise money for a statewide race will be one factor affecting his analysis of a possible U.S. Senate bid. I’m telling you, this man will not run for the Senate.

Democrat Jim Mowrer is reportedly planning to run in IA-04 next year, but he has not formed a campaign officially or filed an FEC report.

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  • CD-1 nominee

    I love Cedar Rapids, but my own personal biases tell me that I would prefer someone from a smaller community be the nominee for the this seat.  We’re going to have an Iowa City nominee and probably a Des Moines based nominee in the third (I like Des Moines as well) so maybe it would make sense to have someone from a smaller community hold this seat.  The Republican nominee may be too conservative to make a dent in Linn County (unless Pate runs) anyway so our nominee doesn’t have to be from there.  

    I’m sure everyone has a chart talking about how rural citizens are overrepresented in Congress.