Photo credit: DeJear for Iowa

Caffeinated Thoughts has learned that an ethics complaint against the Democrat Iowa Secretary of State nominee Deidre DeJear. DeJear is challenging the Republican incumbent Paul Pate. 

The complaint filed with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board by  Des Moines attorney William Gustoff, a member of the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee, alleges that the DeJear campaign filed deceptive or improper filings to the board, as well as, several campaign donation violations. 

Regarding the filings, Gustoff wrote in his complaint, he notes that the DeJear for Iowa campaign was filed with the Board on July 15, 2017, in accordances with state law. The problem, Gustoff notes in his complaint, is that it appears the campaign formed a nonprofit corporation under Iowa Code Section 504 by filing the Articles of Incorporation for “DeJear for Iowa, Inc.” A second filing dropped the “Inc” from the name of the organization. 

Gustoff writes:

This lack of transparency and confusion caused by candidate DeJear’s mishandling of simple matters like filing organizational documents with the IECDB and the Iowa Secretary of State by an individual running to be the chief elections officer and business filings manager for the state are, unfortunately, it is typical of the pattern of carelessness and disregard for the law shown by Ms. DeJear in her campaign filings and other matters.

If the nonprofit corporation is one and the same as the campaign, then her DR-1 should reflect the same name; however, she formed the nonprofit corporation using the wrong type of organization indicated in the Articles of Incorporation. According to the Articles of Incorporation she filed to form DeJear for Iowa, Inc., it is a charitable organization exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. But Section 501(c)(3) charities are prohibited from engaging in campaign activities, so it cannot be used for her campaign, and any donations accepted by the corporation for campaign activities are in violation of federal tax law.

If, instead, DeJear for Iowa, Inc., is a nonprofit corporation formed for some purpose other than the activities of the campaign committee bearing the same name, then Ms. DeJear has violated Iowa Code Section 504.401(1) by using a name for the entity that implies the corporation exists for purposes other than it really does, and she violated Iowa Code Section 504.401(2) by using a name deceptively similar to another organization that exists – and that being an organization she herself formed. This is an incredible violation for someone seeking to run for the office that enforces these sections of the Iowa Code. 

He then turns to the alleged campaign donation violations:

  • A donation of $50.00 from Dallenbach, Inc. in violation of Iowa Code Section 68A.503 that prohibits campaigns from accepting donations from corporations.
  • A donation of $500.00 from Bigelow Services LLC from Muskogee, OK which is not on file with the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office. This would violate Iowa Code Section 68A.502 that prohibits contributions to a campaign in the name of another party.
  • Donations from K & S Investments LLC in the cumulative amount of $3000. Iowa law requires LLCs that donate a cumulative sum of $1000 or more to register as a PAC in the state of Iowa. This group did not.
  • There was also a donation from “Swalwell for Congress” in the amount of $500.00. Iowa law prohibits donations to a campaign committee to another campaign committee. Gustoff notes an amended filing added “This is a registered PAC” for that particular entry which, Gustoff said, “This is false, and an obviously intentional effort to mislead the public and the IECDB.” 
  • Gustoff also states DeJear’s unitemized contributions raises questions. Iowa Code Section 68A.203 requires all donations in excess of $25 to be accompanied by the name and address of the party making the donation. He notes her DR-2 reports show at least 26 “unitemized” donations totally at least $5,631.72 which would require at least 226 first and only-time donors. Two of those “unitemized” donations were in the amount of $2500 (requiring at least 100 people to give no more than $25 at the same time) and $1,114 (requiring at least 46 people to give no more than $25 at the same time). He notes that neither of those entries indicates they were at a fundraiser or event.
  • Gustoff also noted that several donations on the DeJear campaign’s DR-2 forms were listed as PAC or lobbyist donations during the legislative session which is in violation of Iowa law. He notes that while most or all were returned at some point it was a violation to even accept the donations.

You can read the entire complaint and relevant attachments below:

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