(Des Moines, IA) Johnston attorney and Republican Attorney General nominee Adam Gregg yesterday called on Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller to stop the practice of raising money from the targets of his investigations.
Numerous reports after Miller’s 2010 campaign called into question his practice of accepting large, out of state campaign contributions from firms and individuals directly associated with the targets of his mortgage settlement negotiations:
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller
Campaign Contributions Rise When Foreclosure Investigation Begins
Even more interesting is that it was the lawyers and donors from the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector from outside of Iowa who were largely responsible for this reversal. Out-of-state lawyers and lobbyists gave Miller $261,445 in 2010, which is 88 times more than they gave over the previous decade. Out-of-state donors from the FIRE sector gave Miller $56,150 in 2010, compared to $3,500 in2006 and $1,000 in 2002.
The out-of-state lawyers who suddenly took a strong interest in Miller’s reelection last fall are among the most prominent litigators and partners from some of the largest and most famous corporate and class action firms in the country, which is not surprising given the numerous high-stakes court cases filed in the wake of the financial collapse of 2008 that could be impacted by the pending settlement.11
Foreclosure-Probe Chief Asked Bank Lawyers for Money
Now, in response to queries from TIME, Miller says he initiated fundraising calls to several national firms that represent big banks after he had announced his intention to investigate the foreclosure mess. “In September and October, I tried to reach out to people that I’d worked with and I thought had respect for me and potential support for me and tried to raise money from them,” Miller says. “And a number of them were from national firms.”
Miller declined to say how many lawyers he contacted who regularly represent big banks and said he “didn’t know until after the election which firms were representing the banks in the foreclosure” case.
Best Way to Raise Campaign Money? Investigate Banks
A hilarious report has come out courtesy of the National Institute of Money in State Politics, showing that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller – who is coordinating the investigation into the banks’ improper mortgage dealings – increased his campaign contributions from the finance sector this year by a factor of 88! He has raised $261,445 from finance, insurance and real estate contributors since he announced that he was going to be coordinating the investigation into improper foreclosure practices. That is 88 times as much as they gave him not over last year, but over the previous decade.
This is about as perfect an example of how American politics works as you’ll ever see.
Gregg stated, “I find nothing ‘hilarious’ or remotely funny about these reports. What Tom Miller has done is not the Iowa way of campaigning, and certainly below the expectation of the Attorney General. Raising money from the targets of open investigations creates the perception that justice is for sale.”
“Tom Miller should either return all $261,445 to the donors identified in this independent report, or he should donate the equivalent from his campaign to a local charity such as Habitat for Humanity or Iowa Legal Aid,” Gregg stated. “Further, I’m calling on Tom Miller to immediately stop the practice of soliciting campaign funds from the targets of his open investigations.”
“Iowans demand fierce independence from their Attorney General. Taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from the very targets of his investigation is unseemly and gives the appearance that his judgment is colored.”