Pro-Ernst dark money group may get sued over undisclosed finances

UPDATE: Campaign Legal Center filed suit against Iowa Values on February 12. Original post follows.

A group formed to support U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s re-election may face a lawsuit over its ongoing failure to disclose its fundraising and spending.

Iowa Values, created as a 501(c)4 political nonprofit, has not registered with the Federal Election Commission. The FEC has yet to act on a complaint filed more than a year ago, seeking to bring the group into compliance with campaign finance law.

The Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit organization supporting public access to the political process, has asked a U.S. District Court in Washington, DC to find that the FEC failed to comply with a court order to address the Iowa Values matter. If the court does so, federal law allows the center “to sue Iowa Values directly” to force disclosure of its financial activity. That option is on the table, an attorney for the center told Bleeding Heartland on February 8.

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Stop complaining about “unelected” judges

Jerry Foxhoven: Our judges are “unelected” for a reason: to get politics out of the protection of fundamental rights. -promoted by Laura Belin

As a lawyer, I am getting tired of hearing Iowa’s Republican legislators complain about Iowa’s “unelected” judges. Every time they disagree with a decision of a court, they insinuate that, because judges are not elected in Iowa, they are not reflecting the will of the people and therefore elected officials need to reign them in. Such a response shows that these elected officials just don’t understand basic civics.

Shortly after the last election, incoming U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama, said: “Our government wasn’t set up for one group to have all three branches of government — wasn’t set up that way.” Tuberville continued, saying incorrectly: “You know, the House, the Senate, and the executive.” Both the U.S. Constitution and the Iowa Constitution were deliberate when they created a checks and balance system of government including an unelected branch called (I will clarify this for Tuberville’s benefit): the judicial branch.

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Best of Bleeding Heartland's original reporting in 2020

My primary goal in running this website is to provide Iowa political news and analysis that’s not available anywhere else. I’m proud of what Bleeding Heartland accomplished in 2020 and want to highlight some of the investigative reporting and accountability journalism published first or exclusively here.

A forthcoming post will review the site’s most popular pieces from 2020, which included many I worked hardest on or most enjoyed writing.

As always, I’m grateful for readers whose appetite for this kind of reporting keeps me going.

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Kim Reynolds backs effort to overturn 2020 presidential election

Governor Kim Reynolds would have joined the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit seeking to throw out the presidential election results in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia, she announced on December 10. The same day, Reynolds rejected Attorney General Tom Miller’s request to sign on in support of the defendants in that case.

Reynolds said in a campaign statement, “As I have said all along, President Trump, his campaign, and supporters have every right to pursue lawful, legal action in the courts. The American people deserve a fair and transparent election.”

Meanwhile, Reynolds and other prominent Iowa Republicans continue to denounce Rita Hart for appealing the second Congressional district result to the U.S. House–a step federal law allows.

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Steve King joined effort to toss Pennsylvania election result (updated)

Outgoing U.S. Representative Steve King was one of 23 Republican members of Congress who sought unsuccessfully this week to have the U.S. Supreme Court throw out Pennsylvania’s presidential election.

King and fellow House Republicans signed an amicus curiae brief supporting U.S. Representative Mike Kelly’s effort to block certification of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results. Kelly argued that “the state legislature’s provision of no-excuse absentee voting violated both the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions.”

Iowa has long had no-excuse voting by mail, and to my knowledge, King has never suggested that system is unconstitutional. Neither King nor his Congressional staff responded to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiry about the apparent inconsistency. In the past month, King has amplified false claims of election fraud on his social media feeds.

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