Photo credit: Gregory Hauenstein via Flickr(CC-By-NC-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: Gregory Hauenstein (CC-By-NC-SA 2.0)

Brad Anderson, the failed Democrat candidate for Iowa Secretary of State and former Obama campaign strategist, has found a new cause – campaign finance reform. The Associated Press reports that Anderson is co-chair of a non-partisan group called “Iowa Pays the Price.”

Co-chair Brad Anderson, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state last year, said the group plans to spend about $500,000 on an educational campaign that will include social media and online videos. They will be working with a research group called MapLight to produce reports on political money spent in Iowa, where the presidential caucuses are tentatively set for February 2016.

Anderson said campaign money turns a lot of voters off….

….Anderson said the group will also push presidential candidates for their campaign finance reform plans. Goals include more transparency and steeper penalties for breaking rules. Anderson said Iowa’s early voting status and tradition of political organizing make it “the perfect place to start a bipartisan grass-roots movement.”

I don’t mind transparency.  Campaign finance reform can’t impact free speech however.  The other co-chair is Republican Shawn Dietz who is a stand-up guy who ran unsuccessfully for State Senate.  Anderson, however, should admit his hypocrisy.  According to his filings with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board, Anderson spent $417,197 compared to Republican challenger, now Iowa Secretary of State, Paul Pate who spent $226,139.

Anderson also raised around $328,965 in cash contributions.  He also raised $38,936.55 in in-kind donations.  Pate raised $166,702 in cash contributions and $99,569.67 in in-kind (most of which came from the Republican Party of Iowa for advertising and mailing).  Looking at his contribution filings (not that I went through them with a fine tooth comb) there are gobs, I mean gobs of out-of-state donations.  It’s probably fair to say a vast majority of his donors are from out-of-state.

He also received some significant in-kind contributions from O’ Say Can You See PAC (former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s PAC) that covered some staffing costs for the tune of $11,875.  iVote Fund out of Des Moines contributed $6,742.30 in in-kind donations most of which was also marked “salary and gratuity.”

AFL-CIO contributed $7,500.  The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters PAC gave $1000.  The Great Plains Laborers District Council PAC gave Anderson $1000.

His fundraising and spending for a Secretary of State’s race has to be record-breaking, and it doesn’t include PAC money spent that wasn’t directly contributed to his campaign or a tangible in-kind donation that he was legally required to report.

The iVote Fund is a political action committee started by Democrat strategists specifically to support liberal secretary of state candidates.  According to the Center for Public Integrity they spent $255,300 in Iowa running 65 negative ads targeting Pate.  According to their Iowa PAC’s filings with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board they spent $595,405 toward the Iowa Secretary of State’s race in salaries and advertising.

So that’s well over a million dollars spent in Iowa to help see Brad Anderson elected in Iowa’s Secretary of State race.

So while Anderson complains about the amount of special interest spending in campaigns now, he certainly didn’t have a problem with it when he ran for Secretary of State.

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