Iowa Republican files FEC complaint over 'dark money' going to Sen. Ernst's Dem rival

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A prominent Iowa has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint alleging Iowa Democrat Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield is improperly coordinating with outside political action groups.

Greenfield has coordinated more than $900,000 worth of communications with the Senate Majority PAC run by the allies of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the complaint alleges.

“There is reason to believe Greenfield, her campaign, and the IDP violated the Act by soliciting an illegal contribution from SMP [Senate Majority Pac]," said the complaint filed by Wes Enos, a Bondurant City Councilman and former Polk County GOP chairman.

The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 says campaigns are only allowed to accept in-kind contributions of $5,000 per from multicandidate committees.

Enos’ complaint highlights a Sept. 17 tweet from Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson Jeremy Busch which links to a page on the organization’s website that contains attacks and allegations that are “clearly intended to serve as the script for a Super PAC or dark money advertisement.” The webpage also links to opposition research which contains attack lines against Sen. Ernst.

Similar posts were also made on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28.

The Senate Majority PAC conducted its ad buy nine days after Busch’s tweet and used the exact attacks highlighted by the Iowa Democratic Party.

“With 26 days to go, this is a desperate, false claim meant to cover up Senator Ernst’s long and unpopular record of breaking anti-corruption laws, including her campaign getting caught illegally coordinating with a dark money group set up by Ernst’s top aides, as exposed by a bombshell AP investigation,” Greenfield for Iowa communications director Sam Newton said in a statement.

“The flag needed to be thrown” because Greenfield attacks Ernst for using dark money, Enos told Fox News.

The complaint asks the commission to consider "appropriate sanctions for any and all violations in the including civil penalties sufficient to deter future violations and an injunction prohibiting the respondents from any and all violations in the future, and should seek additional remedies as are necessary and appropriate to ensure compliance with the Act."

The issue of "dark money" has been a popular topic at both Iowa senatorial debates.

Greenfield repeatedly attacked Ernst for having taken over $2 million of corporate PAC donations, but refused to answer accusations that she too was accepting money from outside groups.

“Theresa Greenfield and her liberal allies have engaged in what has become a pattern of illegal campaign activity,” said Aaron Britt, communications director for the Iowa GOP.

“Her history of blatant disregard for campaign laws is the absolute height of hypocrisy and should disturb every Iowan,” he added. "If she can’t even follow the law, how can Iowans trust Theresa to write them? It’s clear Greenfield is entirely unprepared and unfit to hold public office.”

Greenfield attempted to represent Iowa’s 3rd District in 2018, but was denied access to the Democratic primary ballot after withdrawing her first petition and then submitting a second one with too few signatures.

The first petition was pulled after it was discovered to contain forgeries. Her former campaign manager Noah Wasserman pleaded guilty to five counts of tampering with records.


Greenfield currently leads Ernst by 5 points, according to an average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.

The third and final Iowa senatorial debate will be held on Oct. 15.

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