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It should be illegal.

Both parties do it.

It is wrong that Republicans do it and it is wrong that Democrats do it.

“It” is how the “funds” work for the two political parties in Iowa.

Let me try to make this simple. We have Bob and Tom who are both Republicans running for Iowa House. Both Bob and Tom are pro-life champions.

Bob has raised $10,000 and does not have an opponent. Tom is running in another race on the other side of the state.

It is illegal for Bob to take any of the money he has raised and give it to Tom.

But, it is perfectly fine and legal (since it is happening) for Bob to take his money, send it to the “House Majority Fund” and then the House Leadership decides where that money will go.

Bob cannot direct it to any specific candidate.

While Bob would love to help Tom, since the two share a conviction on life, that money instead goes to Dave, an anti-life legislator who runs as a Republican.

Bob’s donors think they’re helping Bob. They think they’re helping the pro-life cause.

But they’re not. Because House Leadership sends some of that money to anti-life legislator, Dave.

And the donors do not have a clue.

It is redistribution of wealth at its finest, something I thought Republicans were opposed to. And it is dark, shady business. It lacks transparency, openness and honesty with donors.

It is shameful.

But, it is how the game is played.

It is cyclical.

House Leadership gets elected by the caucus. Each individual member of the caucus goes out and raises money for re-election. The members are encouraged to send the money they raise to the House Majority Fund. The House Leadership then decides who to give money to.

And, it just so happens, the day comes where that same House Leadership decides who chairs committees.

You can easily see where this process encompasses just about — no, not just about — this process encompasses EVERYTHING that is wrong with politics.

Legislation should be introduced, taken up and passed that addresses this charade. There is no way it should be illegal for one candidate to give to another — which would be pretty easy to track for donors of said candidates — but it’s totally OK for all candidates to pool their money together and allow Leadership to decide where the funds are directed.

And we wonder why so many legislators become beholden to Leadership…

Forget the hypocrisy of the law in this instance.

For a minute, focus on the disservice this does to Iowans who give of their hard-earned money to legislators they believe in. Typically these donors give to these legislators because they share common beliefs and values.

Someone may give $25, $50, $100 to their state representative because of a great pro-life speech or pro-gun speech or (insert GOP position here) speech. And that may mean a lot to that donor.

But the donor has no way of knowing where that money will end up. And it could easily end up helping some other candidate get elected who does not share that donor’s beliefs or values.

It is a sham. It is a travesty. It is not right.

And if our elected representatives truly value the openness and generosity of hard-working Iowans, they’ll address this issue sooner rather than later.

 

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall