State Sen. Jim Carlin criticized U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley for not contributing any money from his Hawkeye PAC to the Georgia Senate candidates when control of the United States Senate was on the line earlier this year.
Radio host Simon Conway told Carlin he was wrong on that assertion, noting that Grassley gave $10,000 to “Georgia for Senate.”
Carlin asked which candidate it was.
“It was Georgia for Senate. He gave $10,000. So that’s not right,” Conway responded.
But here is the actual deal.
When control of the U.S. Senate was on the line, Grassley’s Hawkeye PAC did nothing. Nothing. At least according to a search of FEC records. Now, to be clear, if other people have other information they’d like to share, we will gladly receive it and publish a clarification.
But as best we can tell, the $10,000 Conway was talking about was a pair of $5,000 donations to Perdue for Senate from 2018.
Control of the U.S. Senate was not on the line in Georgia in 2018.
To be fair, that $10,000 was the max Grassley could give to Perdue for the 2020 cycle. Sort of…
Leadership PACs like the Hawkeye PAC are limited to contributing $5,000 to candidate committees per election. Perdue had a primary, then a general — hence the $10,000.
But, due to Perdue failing to receive enough of the vote in the November general election, a runoff election was held in January of 2021.
And, here is a screenshot of the contributions from the Hawkeye PAC to Perdue’s campaign:
As you can see, Grassley gave Perdue two $5,000 checks on Dec. 11, 2018.
Control of the U.S. Senate was not on the line in Georgia until after the November 2020 General Election.
And, control of the U.S. Senate did not hinge solely on Perdue’s race. His was one of two U.S. Senate races in Georgia. Remember, Kelly Loeffler was also up for election.
The Hawkeye PAC gave nothing to Loeffler’s campaign, according to the FEC search. Again, if I’m wrong, anyone with the proper information can send it to me.
There was a window of opportunity to actually help Perdue between the November general election and the January runoff. Grassley’s Hawkeye PAC didn’t help, though.
There was also an opportunity to help by contributing to Senate Georgia Battleground Fund.
I know this because that’s exactly what Sen. Joni Ernst’s leadership PAC — JONI PAC — did.
The JONI PAC contributed $45,000 to the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund on Dec. 1, 2020 (after the general, before the runoff). It also contributed $10,000 on the same day to the same fund. So that’s $55,000 JONI PAC kicked in.
In addition to that, JONI PAC contributed $5,000 to Perdue’s committee after the general, before the runoff. This was after she contributed $10,000 to his committee for the primary and general. There is another $5,000 contribution the JOIN PAC made to Perdue for a 2020 recount contribution.
In addition to that, JONI PAC gave Loeffler’s campaign two $5,000 checks on Dec. 23, 2019. JONI PAC gave Loeffler’s campaign another $5,000 on Nov. 9, 2020 (after the general election, before the runoff).
Just for comparison’s sake, here is what JONI PAC did for Georgia:
All of this came about because Carlin asked whether Chuck Grassley bought the Speakership of the Iowa House for his grandson, Pat Grassley. Carlin issued that press release a couple of weeks ago and discussed the possibility in Logan, Iowa at an event.
The Hawkeye PAC has a history of contributing to state legislative candidates. But in 2018, it contributed only to Iowa House Republican candidates and contributed to 57 of them. It hadn’t made contributions to that many House Republican candidates since 2006, which is the year Pat Grassley won election to the Iowa House.
And, back in 2006, there were a number of donations considerably smaller than what was given in 2018.
In addition, the Hawkeye PAC contributed $70,000 directly to Linda Upmeyer’s campaign in 2018. At the time, Upmeyer was Speaker of the Iowa House. She announced in late September of 2019 that she would be stepping down from her role as Speaker.
Upmeyer’s father was also Speaker of the Iowa House at one time. He served with Chuck Grassley at one point in the Iowa House.
That $70,000 stands out when looking at the Hawkeye PAC’s contributions to Iowa legislative candidates over the years. Nothing comes close to matching it. It begs the question, what was that $70,000 for?
The Iowa Standard has heard from multiple sources close the situation that believe Pat Grassley knew Upmeyer would be stepping down as Speaker and worked behind the scenes to garner support for the position before Upmeyer announced her decision to the caucus. The Iowa Standard has also heard from multiple sources that the race for the Speaker position between Pat Grassley and former Majority Leader Chris Hagenow was extremely close — within a couple of votes.
Now, Grassley’s exclusive interest in Iowa House races continued in 2020. He contributed $140,000 to Iowa House candidates and essentially ignored Iowa Senate races. To do this in consecutive elections didn’t really match up with the history of the Hawkeye PAC.
But what really stood out in 2020 was the amount of money the Hawkeye PAC contributed to the Iowa House Majority Fund. The Iowa House Majority Fund is basically a pool of money that the Speaker of the Iowa House divvies up.
See, in Iowa, if you and I are running for House of Representatives and we know we agree with each other 99.9 percent of the time and one of us has an opponent and one of us doesn’t, it is illegal for one of us to contribute any of our campaign funds to the other.
But, it is totally fine and perfectly legal for one of us to send a check to the Republican Party of Iowa for the House Majority Fund and then it is totally acceptable for the Speaker of the Iowa House to decide where that money goes.
I guess the law doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to be law.
And this is how pro-life Republicans in Iowa fund pro-abortion Republican campaigns in Iowa. For instance, the GOP lawmakers who voted against the Heartbeat bill received more than $285,000 from the House Majority Fund after — AFTER — they betrayed the base and voted against life.
So, your check to your representative very easily could have ended up in the House Majority Fund pool of money and ended up going to someone like Rep. Dave Maxwell, who hasn’t only voted against the Heartbeat bill but also the Life Amendment and also the 20-week abortion ban.
Vote Republican to save the babies, right?
Back to the point, the Hawkeye PAC makes $535,000 in contributions to the Iowa House Majority Fund which Pat Grassley now oversees.
Now, take a look at how that lines up historically:
In case that graphic is too small, here. We’ll go chronologically:
Oct. 4, 2004 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $5,000
Nov. 10, 2006 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $12,000
July 9, 2010 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $2,500
Oct. 17, 2012 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $1,000
Feb. 6, 2013 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $4,500
Oct. 27, 2014 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $10,000
Jan. 9, 2015 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $1,000
May 23, 2016 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $1,000
April 5, 2018 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $10,000
*Sept. 16, 2020 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $124,000
*Sept. 24, 2020 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $141,000
*Oct. 13, 2020 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $120,000
*Oct. 13, 2020 Hawkeye PAC to RPI $100,000
*Denotes donations after Pat Grassley became Speaker of the Iowa House
Of interest, on the FEC website, only the donations from 2018 to the present are listed when searching for Hawkeye PAC donations to the House Majority Fund.
That’s a ton of money to the fund his grandson oversees that only came in after his grandson started to oversee it.
Just stating the obvious.
So, was Hawkeye PAC promised to come into the Iowa House Republicans fund if Pat Grassley was selected as Speaker?
We may not know the answer, but it certainly seems like a fair question considering the circumstances.
And when you consider additional circumstances, it warrants even more consideration.
For example, was it ethical for Pat Grassley’s chief of staff to send an email on his behalf to all Iowa House Republicans saying “Grandpa” would love their endorsement?
Carlin has also asked why his bill to increase the interest rate for the Iowa Veterans Fund was killed in the Iowa House. This bill, Senate File 321, passed with unanimous bipartisan support. It was one of 16 bills in that specific week of session to pass the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support.
All but one of those bills was read into the House the same day or the day after they passed. One was not. The one that had Carlin’s name at the top and he managed through the Iowa Senate.
Senate File 321, a bill that would’ve genuinely helped Iowa veterans, was not read into the House until after the second legislative funnel deadline had passed — Speaker Grassley effectively killed the legislation.
So, knowing that Pat Grassley pulls the strings when it comes to the House Majority Fund money, and that he can kill any legislation he wants, and that he assigns committee chairs — does an Iowa House Republican really feel they can refuse to endorse “Grandpa?”
Eleven did. So, perhaps all is not lost.
Now, during Simon Conway’s interview with Carlin, the state senator tried explaining the Veterans Trust Fund issue to Simon, who prides himself as a champion for veterans, but he cut Carlin’s story off and moved on without acknowledging it or seeming concerned in the slightest.
This seemed odd.
Simon also seemed put off at Carlin’s question, asking if he really believes his colleagues in the Iowa House may be for sale.
But Simon is a pretty sharp guy. He knows how the game is played. Who can forget this exchange (start at the 3:45 mark):
“So here’s the issue. We’ve talked about this many times with nothing whatsoever to do with you, Randy. Nothing at all to do with you because apart from anything else you’re not in Congress.
But when these groups spend this kind of money, and if they are successful in getting you elected, because that’s how they see it, you will get in your office and one day there will be this.
And you’ll say, ‘Come in.’
And they’ll say, ‘Hi Randy. We need you to sign on as a co-sponsor to this bill.’
That’s how this works. Are you going to turn around and tell them no, I don’t want you to spend $100,000 on my behalf?”
So, clearly, it was understood politicians are for sale then, why wouldn’t they be now?
After Carlin’s interview with Simon, Rep. Bobby Kaufmann happened to call in to discuss the interview, calling it “desperate” and calling Carlin “Mr. Irrelevant.” He said Carlin didn’t know his facts, referring to the Georgia situation which we laid out above pretty clearly.
But then Kaufmann said Carlin had given the Democrats ammunition. I’m not sure how that can be so if the facts are inaccurate and it is simply desperation.
Kaufmann is the son of former State Rep. and current Republican Party of Iowa chairman Jeff Kaufmann. Bobby Kaufmann admitted to Simon when asked that he voted for Pat Grassley to become Speaker.
However, there was no mention that Bobby Kaufmann has received $29,714.40 himself from the Hawkeye PAC. And that Jeff Kaufmann received $7,500 from the Hawkeye PAC when he was a state representative. And that John Kaufmann, Bobby’s brother and Jeff’s son, works for Chuck Grassley.
None of that was mentioned.
Also, we previously told you how Big Tech has donated $148,000 to Chuck Grassley’s Hawkeye PAC. And now we’ve told you how Chuck Grassley’s Hawkeye PAC has bankrolled the Iowa House Republicans.
It begs one final question. Why did the Iowa Senate successfully pass a Big Tech censorship bill but the Iowa House didn’t?
Does the Hawkeye PAC benefit from Big Tech money? Yes.
Do Iowa House Republicans benefit from Hawkeye PAC money? Yes.
If the Hawkeye PAC benefits from Big Tech money, would it want a bill to hurt Big Tech to pass?
If Iowa House Republicans benefit from the Hawkeye PAC, would it want to pass a bill that might negatively impact contributors to the Hawkeye PAC?
This is undoubtedly a lot of information to absorb and unpack. Anything that is factually inaccurate will be updated if someone can provide the details.
We already know that the Hawkeye PAC, like most if not all Republican U.S. Senate Leadership PACs, made $15,000 contributions to the NRSC annually (sort of like the U.S. Senate Republicans version of the Iowa House Majority Fund). But we are specifically looking at the window of time from after the November 2020 General Election to the January 2021 runoff where control of the U.S. Senate was literally up for grabs in Georgia.