The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board last Friday unanimously decided to reprimand Jim Mowrer for violating Iowa Code section 68A.303(5) when the federal PAC he runs gave his Secretary of State campaign more than $1000 in a calendar year. They ordered him to pay a civil penalty of $100.
Mowrer lost his bid for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State narrowly losing to Deidre DeJear in the June 5th primary.
In 2016 Mowrer launched a federal PAC, The Majority Rules, that focuses on getting states to adopt a compact that would circumvent the Electoral College by encouraging states to pass laws that would allocate electors based on the National Popular Vote.
The Majority Rules PAC, of which he apparently is still the treasurer of, endorsed his candidacy. So essentially he endorsed himself. The Iowa GOP captured a screenshot of an email sent by the PAC back in April.
The Republican Party of Iowa filed a formal complaint with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. The complaint, filed by the Iowa GOP treasurer Bill Gustoff who is an attorney, reads:
Iowa Code section 68A.303(5) states in pertinent part: “A candidate for statewide or legislative office shall not establish, direct, or maintain a political committee.”
Jim Mowrer is a candidate for “statewide office” as evidenced by Statement of Organization filed in August of 2017 with the IECBD for the office of Secretary of State.
The Majority Rules is a federal PAC registered with the FEC as evidenced by the State of Organization filed on November 21, 2016.
Jim Mowrer is listed as the “Treasurer” of the PAC and the PAC makes expenditures to “JDM Consulting” a company listed as the same mailing address as Jim Mowrer. The PAC also reported making a $1,500 campaign contribution to “Jim Mowrer for Iowa” on January 2, 2018. This information is found on campaign disclosure reports filed by The Majority Rules (Committee ID: C00629063).
Apart from the unseemly situation of a Treasurer of a PAC making expenditures to his own consulting company as well as his own campaign committee for public office, it is clear that Jim Mowrer has “established, directed, or maintained a political committee” in violation of Iowa Code section 68A.303(5).
As such, IECDB should fully investigate this matter, and if a violation is found, impose all appropriate sanctions and penalties on Jim Mowrer.
The Ethics Board confirmed that The Majority Rules PAC gave Mowrer’s campaign a $1500 contribution in January 2018 through filings with the Ethics Board and Federal Election Commission.
They also found that The Majority Rules PAC met the criteria to be considered a “political committee” in Iowa.
They also determined that he was in charge of the PAC when the donation to his campaign was made:
Mr. Mowrer established the Majority Rules PAC by electronically filing a statement of organization with the FEC. The statement of organization listed Mr. Mowrer as the committee’s treasurer. The committee never amended the statement of organization to reflect a new treasurer. The committee’s verified statement of organization that was filed after the PAC made the contribution to the Mowrer committee shows that Mr. Mowrer was still very much in charge of the PAC. He was listed as the contact person and the registered agent as well as the parent entity for the PAC. We find the complaint sufficiently alleges facts that show Mr. Mowrer was maintaining a political committee while simultaneously a candidate for statewide office in violation of 68A.303(5). Thus, we find the complaint legally sufficient.
The Ethics Board elected to handle the complaint by administrative resolution because they believed an investigation was not warranted since the facts were established through the Ethics Board and FEC filings. They also noted that Mowrer, through his attorney, did not deny the allegations.
Mowrer can appeal the Ethics Board’s issuance of a reprimand by submitting a written request for a contested case hearing within 30 days.